Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 15:09 UK

US stars unite for cancer charity

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006

US celebrity cancer survivors including actors Christina Applegate and Patrick Swayze, and singer Sheryl Crow, have taken part in a live charity telethon.

More than 60 stars participated in Stand Up to Cancer to raise money to help speed up cancer research.

Those that took part either had cancer, or had lost a relative to the disease.

The hour-long, commercial-free event was a rare occasion in US TV history as it was aired live simultaneously on three rival television networks.

"This is an absolutely historic night, thanks to the unbelievable generosity of the three networks," event organiser, producer and cancer survivor Laura Ziskin told the audience at Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre.

Hollywood stars including chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, Ugly Betty's America Ferrera and actress Kirsten Dunst manned phones taking calls and donations from viewers.

Early detection

Others, including actors Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry, Forest Whitaker and Casey Affleck, read personal accounts from those battling cancer on the show, which was broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS.

Jack Black provided a dose of comic relief saying: "I usually watch these things at home in my underwear."

And talking about potential celebrity donations, he said: "I'm going to make these gravy-trainers pony up - who's got Spielberg's number? He's got a lot of dough."

Halle Berry
Stars remembered those they had lost to the disease

Promoting early detection programmes, Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett underwent a prostate examination on the show and a short Simpsons cartoon was created about Homer Simpson having a colonoscopy.

A number of musical performances were featured, as well as one by more than a dozen divas including Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Leona Lewis and Mary J Blige, who sang their new charity song, Just Stand Up, via video link.

Proceeds from the song will go to Stand Up to Cancer, which was set up by leading figures in the US entertainment industry.

Very rarely do major US television networks agree to broadcast programmes simultaneously during the lucrative prime time evening hours.

One of the exceptions was a celebrity fund-raiser for the victims of the 11 September attacks, which was shown across 31 cable and broadcast networks.

Cancer kills 550,000 Americans and six million people worldwide each year.


SEE ALSO
Applegate has double mastectomy
19 Aug 08 |  Entertainment
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28 May 08 |  Entertainment
Sheryl Crow has breast cancer op
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