11:38am PT by Joey Mendolia
Vice President Joe Biden, Bradley Cooper, Katie Couric Attend Star-Studded 'Stand Up to Cancer' Telethon
Vice President Joe Biden, Tom Hanks, Emma Stone and a slew of celebrities came out to a live telecast Friday night at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles to raise money for cancer research.
The fifth biennial Stand Up to Cancer fundraiser, which has raised more than $111 million so far in connection with the Sept. 9 telecast, aired live on the Big Four networks and several other cable outlets around the world as well as online. Executive producer Bradley Cooper, who lost his father Charles to lung cancer in 2011, was not alone in the sea of celebrities who have been personally affected by cancer.
Katie Couric, co-founder of SU2C, lost her first husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998 when he was just 41. Her sister Emily was taken two years later by pancreatic cancer. “We have to keep figuring out ways to say ‘oh, no you don’t’ to cancer,” Couric told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet before the telecast. “I think as we figure out more about how cancer behaves, we’re going to figure out more ways to attack it.”
Couric, who became the first female solo anchor of an evening news broadcast when she joined CBS News in 2006, gave a newfound prominence to colon-cancer screening and early detection when a live broadcast of her colonoscopy was featured on NBC's Today in 2001.
“We’re having a greater understanding of early detection, prevention, lifestyle choices and all the things we can do to reduce our risk,” Couric told THR. “I think the train is moving in the right direction.”
Veep's Tony Hale was in good spirits on the red carpet, despite having lost a friend to pancreatic cancer just the previous day. “It’s a very jarring experience when that happens,” he said. “Everything gets closer.” The actor previously won an Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on the HBO comedy series and is nominated again this year.
“Being here to see the hope, to see the encouragement, to see the headway that’s happening with research, it really brings light to all of it,” he told THR.
Stand Up to Cancer, whose goal is to “raise funds to accelerate the pace of research,” aims to use the entertainment industry to engage the public in supporting its collaborative model of cancer research. The fundraising group has attracted a number of donors such as MasterCard, Genentech, CVS Health, the American Cancer Society, Rally Health and American Airlines.
Donors David Ko and Rhett Woods from Rally Health expressed their praise of Stand Up to Cancer’s initiative to THR outside the event. “Having the entertainment industry involved in this really elevates the message to the degree where we can actually reach people,” said Woods. “Stand Up to Cancer was so passionate about raising awareness that we just knew we had to get involved with them,” added Ko.
Inside the event, Cooper and Couric appeared intermittently throughout the show to introduce guests. Notable stars including Ed Helms, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Evans, Josh Gad and Eric Stonestreet appeared in pretaped segments. Rob Riggle hosted and participated in the phone bank along with Dr. Ken’s Ken Jeong.
Stone included her mother, Krista, who survived a 25-week fight against triple-negative breast cancer, when speaking at the event, and stand-up comedian Tig Notaro joked about her own breast cancer.
Perhaps the biggest name at the event, Biden mentioned his son Beau’s recent death during his speech. “Time matters,” he implored. “Every single minute matters.” Biden continued by informing the audience about the Cancer Moonshot Program, the government funding of personalized cancer research tasked to him by President Barack Obama during the 2016 State of the Union address. His speech received a standing ovation.
To wrap up the evening, Hanks introduced Celine Dion, who sang a rendition of Pink’s song "Recovering" to close out the show.
Meanwhile, stars are hoping their support helps bring greater attention to this cause.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, ‘To whom much is given, much is required of,’” Jillian Michaels told THR before the telecast started. “When you have such a huge megaphone, on such a grand scale, it’s important to bring people’s attention to something that matters.”