Think "Hollywood politics," and you likely conjure up images of George Clooney speaking out about Darfur or Brad Pitt's blueprint to provide housing for the New Orleans needy. Dozens of actors are known for their outspoken beliefs off screen as much as for their on-screen performances: Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Barbra Streisand to name just a few.
But there's another group of mostly unknown showbiz executives in Los Angeles working behind the scenes in left-leaning politics: hosting Democratic Party fundraisers, sponsoring anti-war rallies, organizing abortion rights events, backing environmental legislation or producing message movies that promote peace, love and understanding.
The old guard -- including such well-known figures as Norman Lear, 85; David Geffen, 65; Rob Reiner, 61; Stanley Sheinbaum, 81; and Mike Medavoy, 67 -- is still going strong, among them 1960s-era activists, billionaire donors and sturdy intellectuals who influence Democratic politics at all levels. (Media-savvy Geffen's early support for Barack Obama -- and his public branding of his former allies, the Clintons, as "liars" to The New York Times' Maureen Dowd in February 2007 -- revealed one of the first chinks in candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's sturdy Hollywood armor.)
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