OUTING REPUBLICANS IN HOLLYWOOD

GIULIANIRepublican Celebs Listed despite Blacklisting Worries, Arnold gives Giuliani for President a Boost
THE HOLLYWOOD PRIMARIES: Schwarzenegger boosts Giuliani for President this week. Republican celebrities and movie moguls who may be worried about being blacklisted are listed in today’s issue of entertainment newsmagazine Hollywood Today

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) 02/06/07 — When Rudy Giuliani takes the podium Feb. 9th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Sacramento to deliver the keynote at the California Republican Party Convention, the former Mayor of New York will be boosting not just his own Presidential ambitions but also the national aspirations of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger has not yet endorsed any Republican presidential aspirant, he hand-picked Giuliani to take the spotlight at the upcoming party conclave where he calls the shots. The combination of Schwarzenegger and Giuliani on one stage is expected to catapult the event into the national spotlight.

Giuliani is the candidate who plays best in Hollywood, where the Governor still has deep roots, as he proved during his re-election campaign. There may be fewer Republicans in show business than Democrats, by a margin of about three to one based on campaign donations, but there are still significant players on the conservative side, from movie stars to legal stars, who can provide contributions, connections and a touch of glamour. They form part of the appeal of California to candidates, along with real estate, finance and technology interests.

Once again playing the action hero, the Governator will soon sign into law legislation moving up next year’s presidential primary in California from June 3 to February 5, 2008, giving the state more clout.

While Senators Obama and Clinton were making headlines last week with plans to tap show business, Giuliani was already across town with a crowd of business people, sprinkled with entertainment industry figures, in tone Pacific Palisades. He was guest of honor at a relatively low key, but well-attended $2,300 per ticket private fundraiser at the home of Bill Simon, the GOP candidate for governor of California in 2002.

“Rudy Giuliani is the candidate who has the greatest appeal to show business,” says a prominent writer-producer who was at the event at Simons. “Think about it. In that field, who are the stars on the Republican side? Who has been on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or done a cameo in a movie, only Giuliani and McCain. They come off as bigger than life. They are the stars of the party and that appeals to Hollywood.”

It appeal to David Zucker, the producer, writer and director whose credits include “Ruthless People,” “Naked Gun” and “Airplane.” He is scheduled to speak about his conversion after the shock of 9/11 from liberal to conservative this Wednesday evening (Feb. 7) in Hollywood at the monthly meeting of political conservatives in show business called the Hollywood Congress of Republicans. More than 80 attendees are expected but one thing they won’t hear is any discussion of some of the most divisive issues among Republicans.

“We try to keep social issues off the table,” explains Mark Vafiades, a self-described conservative and actor who is president of the four year old group. “We don’t want to exclude people who have real core Republican values just because they are pro life or pro choice, or over other single issues.”

Vafiades says it isn’t always easy to be a conservative in a town and industry dominated by the other party. “People in the business tend to be on the left,” says Vafiades. “If you have opposite opinions, it can be very difficult to express yourself because people can be really sort of hateful toward those with Republican views.”
There isn’t blacklisting but it can have an impact, adds Vafiades, whose credits include regional theater, commercials and independent films. “There’s not overt blacklisting,” he explains. “But if you really make our opinions known to maybe a casting director or a director or a producer who is on the left, they will remember that, and they tend not to hire you. So it’s not an organized blacklist, but there is no question it hurts.”

Republicans, like Democrats, want to see the race shake out before they make a financial or emotional commitment. “It’s just too early,” says Jason Apuzzo, a self-described political conservative and co-founder of the Liberty Film Festival, which took place this past November in West Hollywood. “Everybody loves the horse race but it’s very early. There’s lots of shaking out to do.”

Among the celebrities and others in show biz who have been identified with Republicans are Tom Selleck, Dennis Miller, Mel Gibson, Chuck Norris, Ben Stein, Pat Sajak, Kelsey Grammer, Danny Aiello, Patricia Heaton, James Woods, Drew Carey, Jim Belushi, Jamie Farr, Paul Anka, Bob Barker, Jim Caviezel, Marc Cherry, Merv Griffin, Swoozie Kurtz, Cloris Leachman, Heather Lochlear, Reba McIntire, Dana Carvey, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, David Spade and many more in a list found on www.hollywoodtoday.net
By Alex Ben Block, award-winning journalist and bestselling author.

Read the rest of this story in daily newsmagazine Hollywood Today. Permission to reprint is GRANTED provided Hollywood Today is mentioned and address www.hollywoodtoday.net used when possible.