LOS ANGELES — Cancer is big, but so are the celebrities determined to help conquer it.

Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sofia Vergara and Robert Pattinson were among dozens of stars who appeared Friday on the third Stand Up to Cancer telethon.

"Let's build a world where cancer is no more," a somber Hanks said on the hour-long program that was carried commercial-free by the major broadcast networks and a number of cable channels.

Some of the stars who participated had seen cancer sicken or claim a family member. Others had fought the disease themselves.

"It picked a fight with the wrong guy," said Douglas, who had throat cancer. "Cancer didn't bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet. I stand tonight because I want to be part of this effort to find an end to cancer. This is possible."

The telethon included short films about people fighting the disease, including a 3-year-old boy, Justin, who distracts himself from treatment with a favorite toy.

"I don't really think about me passing away. But if I ever do, I'm taking my Legos with me," he said in the video, with a feisty smile.

Onstage, Justin Timberlake asked the studio audience to stand up for the child, who attended the event.

"My buddy Justin is a fighter. That's what you have to be as a child facing a mountain like cancer," Timberlake said.

The program honored the memory of "Spider-Man" movie producer Laura Ziskin, who helped found Stand Up to Cancer. She died last year at age 61 after battling breast cancer for seven years.

"Like every great hero, she had a vision and she set us into motion," Emma Stone said in a videotaped tribute to Ziskin. "And now it's up to us to continue moving forward to achieve her dream."

The amount of money pledged during the telethon was not immediately available. Donations also can be made online at standup2cancer.org, the group said.

Taylor Swift performed a song she wrote for a young cancer victim, a 3-year-old who died last year. Swift wrote "Ronan" after reading the blog of the child's mother, Maya Thompson, who is credited as a co-writer.

The song is available on iTunes, with proceeds to go to cancer-related charities.

Other performers included Alicia Keys ("Not Even the King"), Coldplay ("Paradise") and Tim McGraw, who closed the show with his poignant "Live Like You Were Dying."

Among those staffing the phone banks were Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, Eric Stonestreet, Ray Romano and Chelsea Handler,

The broadcast walked a line between harsh reality and hope.

During Roberts' remarks, she cautioned viewers that one in two men and one in three women will get cancer and that cancer "kills a child every four hours in this country."

"This is why we have to support Stand Up to Cancer. This extraordinary movement has assembled dream teams of the best doctors and scientists collaborating at a frantic pace to save our lives," the actress said.

The entertainment community has gathered to go after this disease "with everything we've got," Roberts said.

Researchers said the fund supports collaborative team science and innovative ways of approaching new treatments.

Paltrow, who was an executive producer for the telethon, talked before the broadcast about her father, director Bruce Paltrow, who lost his life to cancer.

"It's been almost a decade now and I'm sort of more used to the fact that he's not here in physical body," she said. "But I definitely feel his presence, and I think he would be really happy that I'm here tonight doing this and trying to spare other people from what he went through."

Stonestreet said his mother was diagnosed with two types of cancer within one year.

"Thankfully, she beat it. She's a tough cookie," he said.

His "Modern Family" co-star, Ty Burrell, lost his dad to cancer in 1989. Burrell said there are many reasons to take part in the event.

"I heard from a good friend of mine that this kind of thing (the telethon) brought him a lot of hope while he was being treated," he said.

Stand Up To Cancer, which also receives corporate donations, is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the TV and movie industries.

The American Association for Cancer Research is the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer and conducts scientific oversight of its research projects in conjunction with the SU2C advisory committee.

___

Associated Press writer Mike Cidoni Lennox contributed to this report.

___

Online:

http://www.standup2cancer.org

http://www.hulu.com/stand-up-to-cancer

Loading Slideshow...
  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Lady Gaga rocked some 80's style while leaving her apartment building in New York City on June 6.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Eva Longoria and Felicity Huffman had a little "Desperate Housewives" reunion at the AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on June 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Lindsay Lohan was seen at Chiltern Firehouse in London on June 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Scott Disick attended the 2014 FIFA World Cup McDonald's launch party at Pillars 38 on June 5 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Lena Dunham was seen rocking a "No Comment" sweater while out and about in New York City on June 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Hilary Duff was all smiles as she ran errands on June 5 in Beverly Hills, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Channing Tatum has some fun at the "22 Jump Street" premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on June 4 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban attended the 2014 CMT Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 4 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Carrie Underwood attended the 2014 CMT Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 4 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Kendall and Kylie Jenner were seen stepping out in New York City on June 4.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Bradley Cooper got whipped into shape by military personnel while filming scenes for his upcoming movie "American Sniper" in Los Angeles, California on June 4.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Sarah Jessica Parker went for a walk on June 4 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Emma Roberts and Evan Peters enjoyed a romantic stroll on the beach together while vacationing in Maui, Hawaii on June 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Kim Kardashian stopped by Craig's in West Hollywood, California to have lunch with her mom Kris Jenner on June 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Taylor Schilling attended the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Berkeley Square Gardens on June 3 in London, England.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Miranda Lambert stopped by ABC studios for an appearance on "Good Morning America" in New York Cit on June 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Angelina Jolie attended the "Maleficent" photo call at The Bund on June 3 in Shanghai, China.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    John Mayer enjoyed dinner out at Madeo Restaurant on June 2 in West Hollywood, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Blake Lively left her hotel with designer Michael Kors and headed to the 2014 CDFA Awards on June 2 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Gwen Stefani spotted leaving a skin care clinic while out and about in Beverly Hills, California on June 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Katie Holmes spotted picking up Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer in New York City on June 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Pete Wentz took a test drive of the new Mario Kart 8 for Wii U in Los Angeles, California on June 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Halle Berry attended the Huading Film Awards on June 1 at Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Kim Kardashian was seen at LAX on June 1 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Shailene Woodley was seen leaving the Bowery Hotel in New York City on June 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Marion Cotillard spotted out and about with a friend in New York City on June 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Khloe Kardashian chatted away on her cell phone as she arrived on a red eye flight at JFK airport in New York on May 31.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Naomi Watts headed to the gym for a morning workout on May 30 in Brentwood, California

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Jane Lynch signed copies of her book "Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean" at the 2014 Bookexpo America at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 29 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs and Laura Prepon attended a photo call to launch season 2 of Netflix exclusive series "Orange Is The New Black" on May 29 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Peter Facinelli and Jaimie Alexander shared a kiss after their work out at a gym in West Hollywood, California on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Mariah Carey at the 2014 Fresh Air Fund Honoring Our American Hero at Pier Sixty in New York City on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Farrah Abraham spotted posing for cameras in New York City on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Strathearn Community Campus in Crieff, Scotland on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    "The Bachelorette" Season 1 couple Trista and Ryan Sutter stopped to pose for the cameras while out and about in New York City on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Los Angeles premiere of "Maleficent" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on May 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Chris Martin and his band Coldplay perform live at the Casino de Paris on May 28 in Paris.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Hilary Duff stopped by a nail salon in Los Angeles, California on May 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Scott Disick spotted out and about with a friend in New York City on May 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Emily Blunt attended the premiere of "Edge Of Tomorrow" on May 28 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Nina Dobrev wowed at the World Music Awards 2014 at Sporting Monte-Carlo on May 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Kristen Stewart departed on a flight at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California with her bodyguard on May 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron and Seth MacFarlane attended a photo call to promote "A Million Ways To Die In The West" on May 27 in London, England.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Jennifer Garner met a friend for lunch at Larchmont Bungalow in Los Angeles, California on May 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Tom Cruise attended "Edge Of Tomorrow" photocall at Terrazza Civita on May 27 in Rome, Italy.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Kaley Cuoco and her husband Ryan Sweeting attended Joel Silver's Annual Memorial Day Party at his home in Malibu, California on May 26.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Kris Jenner and baby North West left Florence Airport after Kim Kardashian And Kanye West's wedding on May 25 in Florence, Italy.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Emma Watson, in a cap and gown, attending Brown University’s 2014 Graduation Ceremony in Providence, Rhode Island on May 25.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Eva Longoria had a busy morning in Los Angeles, California on May 25.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Iggy Azalea arrived at The Bank nightclub at the Bellagio on May 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Supermodel Hilary Rhoda and her fiance former "DWTS" contestant Sean Avery celebrated Memorial Day with Tequila Don Julio cocktails from the Airstream speakeasy in the Hampton's on May 24.