Celebrities rallied last night for a great cause — Larry King‘s telethon to raise money for the devastation caused by the BP oil spill ravaging the U.S. Gulf Coast. Large and small donations flowed as stars celebrities answered phones to help the people of the Gulf suffering from the oil disaster.The two-hour CNN fundraising show raised more than $1.81 million, with proceeds going to three charities deeply involved in the relief efforts to help humans, wildlife and the environment, CNN reports.
“Everyone’s really pissed off,” actress Jenny McCarthy, who was monitoring online messages in the telethon’s “Tweet Suite,” told telethon host Ryan Seacrest during last night’s broadcast.
Donors could choose to send their money to the United Way, National Wildlife Federation or The Nature Conservancy.
Actor Ted Danson said it was important for him to “hear people’s emotions, their fear and sadness” when they called in donations.
CNN correspondents reported live from the Gulf Coast during the telethon, interviewing people whose lives have been overturned by the oil disaster.
“The toughest thing I see is losing a way of life that we’ve had down here for generations and generations,” said shrimper Archie Dantin in Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana.
A BP spokesman issued a statement, via CNN, Monday saying the oil company is “proceeding with urgency to make the situation right for the environment and for those who have affected by this tragic event.”
“We stated from the beginning that we accept responsibility for cleaning up the spill and for paying all legitimate claims for those directly impacted financially by this environmental disaster,” BP’s statement said.
The oil giant said over 65,000 claims have been submitted and more than 32,000 payments have been made, totaling more than $107 million.
The Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder feels very connected to the cause — he grew up in Covington, La., where much of the oil is washing onto shore.
The actor said he was moved by George Clooney‘s involvement with the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon and asked upon fellow Hollywood friends to help with the Gulf Coast Relief.
Other celebs in attendance included Alyssa Milano, Kathy Griffin, Nicole Richie, Sting, Gavin Rossdale, Chelsea Handler, Ne-Yo, Giuliana Rancic, Pete Wentz and Ke$ha.
Check out Sting’s performance and some highlights from the charitable event!