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Efforts to repair Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral received a boost Wednesday from the Walt Disney Company, which pledged $5 million to the reconstruction effort after a devastating fire Monday.
The city’s historic landmark was the setting for Disney’s 1996 animated musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, based on Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel of the same name. The Oscar-nominated film was voiced by Demi Moore, Kevin Kline and Jason Alexander and grossed over $315 million worldwide.
“Notre Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. “The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbors in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a $5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece.”
The $5 million from the company that operates the Disneyland Paris theme park follows an outpouring of support from film and fashion, with French tycoons Francois-Henri Pinault, head of Gucci and Saint Laurent parent company Kering, and Bernard Arnault, head of Louis Vuitton and Dior parent company LVMH, having donated $113 million (100 million euros) and $226 million (200 million euros), respectively.
The heirs of makeup giant L’Oreal, the Bettencourt family, have also pledged 200 million euros through their Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. Other companies have pledged large sums, bringing the total to $734 million (650 million euros) so far.
The City of Cannes will contribute $13,000 (10,000 euros) and Mayor David Lisnard has pledged to band together with the film festival heads, Thierry Fremaux and Pierre Lescure, to enlist Hollywood in the fundraising efforts.
Notre Dame had been undergoing an $8 million (7 million euros) restoration effort to its towering spire when it caught fire, and the government had been seeking over $135 million (120 million euros) for repairs prior to the disaster.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the Roman Catholic architectural landmark within five years.
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