Martin Sheen, Bob Barker Honored for Commitment to Marine Life Conservation

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Pamela Anderson, Moby and Maggie Q were just a few of the bold-faced names who came out in support of the environmental organization.

The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills played host to the Sea Shepherd 40th Anniversary Gala for the Oceans on Saturday night. Martin Sheen, Pamela Anderson, Moby and Maggie Q were just a few of the bold-faced names who came out in support of the environmental organization.

But in a sea of stars, it was the group's rugged ship captains who captured the spotlight. Sea Shepherd is famous for the direct action they take against whalers, poachers and others who attempt to harm marine wildlife, often putting themselves in harm's way to protect the animals. While actors only play action heroes, these activists face real danger when they venture out into the open water where they are routinely attacked, threatened and intimidated by larger ships.

Anderson, who serves as the chairwoman of Sea Shepherd’s board, told The Hollywood Reporter why the organization was so important to her.

“They do so much great work and if the oceans die, we die," she said. "They’re great defenders of the ocean, whales, marine life, and they risk their lives every day on these ships to do the work that government should be doing and enforcing the laws that are supposed to be protecting marine life.”

Anderson delivered the gala’s opening remarks and called out her ex-husband Tommy Lee for reneging on a promise to attend the event.

Bob Barker was honored for his donation of $5 million, which was used to purchase a ship now bearing his name. The longtime Price Is Right host was unable to attend the event because it was reported that he had suffered a fall and was recovering from his injuries.

Sheen was also recognized for his decades of involvement with Sea Shepherd, and he showed the depth of his commitment in 1994 when he ventured out on a mission to stop a seal hunt with Captain Paul Watson, the organization’s founder.

“He asked me to come up and join the effort to stop the seal hunt," recalled Sheen. "I worked my way up to the Madeleine Islands [part of the Canadian province of Quebec] and a big storm came in and we were not able to get out onto the ice and the seal hunters rioted and they tried to kill him. They gave him a brutal beating in the hotel. There were about 200 of them and there were only a half dozen of us and we had to be rescued by the Mounties, literally.”

Captain Watson, a longtime environmentalist, spoke about the moment that sealed his commitment to protecting the ocean.

“The thing that inspired me the most was back in 1975 when I was trying to save a whale that had been harpooned, and it was dying," he related. "It suddenly dove and came straight towards us. It came up out of the water and as his head came out of the water and I looked into that eye, that’s what changed my life forever, because what I saw there was understanding. The whale understood what we were trying to do.”

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds performed during the evening, which included a vegan dinner and a spirited live auction in support of the organization.