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Some of Ben Affleck’s best cinematic moments have come writing about or portraying guys from legendarily tough South Boston. And if there’s one thing the “Southie” tough guys with hearts of gold understand, it’s loyalty to their neighborhood and their crew.
Affleck, as resourceful in real life as the street-wise characters he plays so well, put on a display of that fabled he-did-it-for-a-friend loyalty this week, when he stepped in to stage a major fundraiser for consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, who is fighting to reclaim Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat for the Democrats. Warren, a Harvard Law professor and former Obama administration aide, is locked in a tight and expensive race with former Tea Party favorite Scott Brown, whose campaign has been a major recipient of Wall Street donations. Hollywood contributions have helped narrow the gap in race that may be too close to call.
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The event at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production studio in Santa Monica on Monday was billed as “A Massachusetts Evening,” and Affleck’s co-hosts were Matt Damon and The Office’s John Krasinski. Both Damon and Krasinski, however, were filming on location and couldn’t attend the fundraiser. Affleck went to work on his own to make sure the event was packed. It drew about 150 Hollywood donors, along with more than 200 individual donations to the Warren senatorial effort.
Attendees included Affleck’s wife Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Braff, Dana Delany, Tobey Maguire, Ed Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Alan Horn and Writers Guild president Chris Keyser. Other contributors included Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sally Field, Michael King, Harvey Weinstein and Alan Ladd Jr.
Although the campaign declined to release precise numbers, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter the night was a major success. Warren’s fundraisers had set a goal of $250,000 for the evening, and with donations ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 per person, they far exceeded that figure.
It was the first time Affleck has thrown himself personally into a major political fundraiser, but when word hits the street about that haul, it probably won’t be the last.
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