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Sunday, 23 September, 2001, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Huge audience for all-star telethon
Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone
Actors Cruise and Stallone took pledges
Up to 89 million people in the US watched music and screen stars perform and take pledges during a charity telethon.

They tuned in for at least some of the two hour event to help victims of the plane attacks in the US.

Celine Dion
Celine Dion sang God Bless America
According to Neilsen Media Reserach nearly 60 million watched the entire show as actors like Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks led appeals for donations.

Organisers of the event say they will not know until Monday exactly how much money was raised.

The telethon logged 300,000 calls in the first 15 minutes and major organisations have pledged significant sums.

Computer giant Microsoft has pledged $10m (6.86m), media company Vivendi $5m (3.43m) and United Parcel Service $4m (2.7m), to name just some of the corporate donors.

Actors involved
Jim Carrey
Tom Cruise
George Clooney
Cameron Diaz
Robert De Niro
Clint Eastwood
Calista Flockhart
Kelsey Grammer
Julia Roberts
Tom Hanks
Will Smith
Robin Williams
Brad Pitt
Meg Ryan
Jack Nicholson
Adam Sandler
Goldie Hawn
Danny DeVito
Al Pacino
John Cusack
Salma Hayek
Chris Rock
Sylvester Stallone
Sarah Jessica Parker
Conan O'Brien
Cuba Gooding Jr
Lucy Liu
Jimmy Smits
Dennis Franz

"We want to support the recovery effort in every way that we can," said Rick Belluzzo of Microsoft.

Singer Bruce Springsteen opened the event with a new song, My City in Ruins, and he was followed by performers including Stevie Wonder, U2, Sting and Mariah Carey.

The stars told poignant stories of innocent people killed and heroic acts, while former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali appealed to people not to target all Muslims in the wake of the attacks.

Tom Cruise was among the stars making appeals, while Brad Pitt, Meg Ryan and Jack Nicholson took phone calls and donations from the public.

Many stars have themselves donated sums to help the victims of the attack.

Actress Julia Roberts donated $2m (1.37) and actor Jim Carrey sent $1m (686,000).

The show, called America: A Tribute to Heroes was broadcast on more than 35 TV networks and 8,000 radio stations in the US alone, and in more than 200 countries around the globe, including on BBC1 and ITV in the UK.

Muhammad Ali
Ali appealed not to brand all Muslims as terrorists
Robert De Niro and Will Smith also took part in the show, which was a rare collaboration between the major US TV networks.

Viewers were encouraged to phone in to pledge money during the show. Donations could also be made through the show's website.

Sylvester Stallone, John Cusack, Adam Sandler, Cindy Crawford and Al Pacino took pledges.

Muhammad Ali made an emotional appeal on behalf of fellow Muslims for tolerance, at a time when there have been attacks and abuse against followers of Islam.

"I'm a Muslim. I've been a Muslim for 20 years. I want the world to know the truth about Islam," Muhammad Ali said.

Musicians involved
Bon Jovi
Mariah Carey
Sheryl Crow
Celine Dion
Paul Simon
Bruce Springsteen
Stevie Wonder
Neil Young
Enrique Iglesias
Wyclef Jean
Billy Joel
Alicia Keys
Willie Nelson
Dixie Chicks
Faith Hill
Billy Joel
Tom Petty

"I wouldn't be here to represent Islam if it were the way the terrorists make it look...Islam is for peace."

The live special was broadcast from two studios in New York and Los Angeles, although producers refused to reveal the exact locations because of security fears.

The United Way's September 11th Fund will benefit from the donations.

The show will be shown on BBC One in the UK at 2220 BST on Sunday night.

The BBC's Clarence Mitchell in New York
"The telephonists were the most famous in the world"
The BBC's Max Pearson
"It was a pretty sombre affair"
See also:

13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
12 Sep 01 | Film
Bomb blast movie pulled
17 Sep 01 | Film
US box office rallies
14 Sep 01 | Music
Farm Aid called off
22 Sep 01 | Reviews
'A prayer for our fallen'
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