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Photos: George Clooney

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  1. She's the one

    George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin are snapped on a dinner date celebrating a friend's birthday in Santa Barbara, Calif., on April 27, 2014.

    The Oscar-winning actor and the British human rights lawyer got engaged in April. Clooney famously dated a number of women over the years after being married and divorced once and saying he wasn't very good at it. (Rachel Murray / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. He's the 'Men" man

    Clooney poses on the red carpet as he arrives for the UK premiere of the film "The Monuments Men" in central London on Feb. 11, 2014. (Andrew Cowie / AFP-Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Boys club at 'Men' premiere

    Bill Murray, John Goodman, Clooney, Jean Dujardin and Matt Damon attend "The Monuments Men" photocall during the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 8, 2014. (Andreas Rentz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Culturally sensitive

    In Clooney's 2014 film "The Monuments Men," which he co-wrote, produced, directed and stars in, he appears (with Matt Damon) as a member of an Allied platoon in WWII tasked with saving priceless artworks before they are destroyed by Nazis. (Claudette Barius / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Lost in space

    In "Gravity," Clooney plays veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, who is stranded in space after debris strikes the space shuttle where he is working. (Courtesy Of Warner Bros. Picture / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Center stage

    Clooney accepts the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film on Nov. 9, 2013 at the BAFTA LA Jaguar Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Michael Buckner / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Second best

    Fans of Clooney love to pose with his image, even if it isn't the real deal. Here, members of the public say "cheese" alongside a waxwork model of the actor in London on Feb. 13, 2013. (Carl Court / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Lady in red

    Sandra Bullock and Clooney stroll the red carpet together at the premiere of their new film "Gravity" on Aug. 28, 2013, which opened the Venice International Film Festival. (Ettore Ferrari / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Star power

    Clooney takes a boat to the Lido Beach at the 70th annual Venice International Film Festival on Aug. 27, 2013. He was there to promote his new film "Gravity," which was shown out of competition at the event. (Ettore Ferrari / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Three amigos

    Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and Clooney pose with the most prestigious Academy Award, a best picture prize for "Argo" on Feb. 24, 2013. Affleck starred, directed and produced; Clooney and Heslov, who often collaborate on films, were also producers on the film. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Standing for a cause

    Clooney is arrested during a demonstration outside the Embassy of Sudan in Washington, D.C., on March 16, 2012. United to End Genocide, the Enough Campaign and Amnesty International held a rally to call on the United States and world leaders to stop the violence in South Sudan and prevent hundreds of thousands of people from starving. Clooney and several others, including his father, were released hours later. (Win Mcnamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Testify!

    Clooney smiles as he testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on March 14, 2012. (Kris Connor / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Oscar nominee

    Clooney, a best actor nominee for his role in "The Descendants," and girlfriend Stacy Keibler arrive at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif., on Feb. 26, 2012. Clooney lost to "The Artist" star Jean Dujardin.

    The couple split in July 2013 after two years together. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Another Golden night

    Clooney and Keibler pose with his award for best actor in a motion picture -- drama for "The Descendants," backstage at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 15, 2012. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Critics love him

    Clooney accepts the best actor award for "The Descendants" onstage during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at The Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 12, 2012. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Clooney for president!

    Clooney stars as a governor running for president in 2011's "Ides of March." Ryan Gosling plays his idealistic staffer who is quickly introduced to the dirty side of politics. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Men of the year

    Gosling and Clooney pose at "The Ides Of March" premiere on Sept. 27, 2011 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. In the director's chair

    Clooney doesn't just star in "Ides of March," he produced, co-wrote and directed the film. Here he reviews footage with co-stars Evan Rachel Wood and Gosling. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Name game

    Clooney signs autographs as he arrives at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of his film "The Descendants" on Sept. 10, 2011. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Backseat driver

    Clooney and Shailene Woodley are shown in a scene from the 2011 film "The Descendants," in which he plays a Hawaiian land baron. (New York Film Festival via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. That's life

    A tanned and happy Clooney arrives for the 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. (Andrew Medichini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Supporting South Sudan

    Clooney attends voting ceremonies during the first day of voting for the independence referendum in the southern Sudanese city of Juba on Jan. 9, 2011. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Night of honors

    Clooney and then-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis attend the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights' 2010 Ripple of Hope Awards dinner honoring Clooney, Robert Smith and Marc Spilker on Nov. 17, 2010 in New York. (Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Talking to the president

    Clooney met with President Barack Obama to discuss issues involving Sudan on Oct. 12, 2010, in Washington. (Pete Souza / The White House via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Saving Sudan

    Clooney was joined by TODAY's Ann Curry on a South Sudan visit in Oct. 2010. The actor says the international community needs to step in. "If we get involved now, we have a shot," he tells TODAY. (Tim Freccia / The Enough Project) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Armed and dangerous

    With James Bond on hiatus due to MGM's money woes, can Clooney fill the bill as the suave action hero of filmdom? Clooney, shown with Thekla Reuten, stars as an assassin who finds himself in trouble in scenic Italy in 2010's "The American." (Focus Features) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Seeking justice

    Clooney leaves Milan's law courts after testifying against three individuals accused of fraudulently using his name to promote a fashion label at Palazzo di Giustizia on July 16, 2010 in Milan, Italy. The actor testified as a civil plaintiff during the trial against the individuals running fashion label GC Exclusive by George Clooney. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. He's our guy

    Clooney accepts the Guy of the Year award at Spike TV "Guy's Choice" awards in Culver City, Calif., on Saturday, June 5, 2010. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Lady in red

    Clooney and then-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis attend the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theater on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, Calif. The couple split in June 2011 after two years together. (Dan MacMedan / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. The Reitman stuff

    Clooney and director Jason Reitman attend a news conference for "Up In The Air" during Day 3 of the Rome Film Festival at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome on Saturday, October 17, 2009. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. When in Rome ...

    George Clooney and Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis walk the red carpet before a screening of the movie "Up in The Air" at the 4th edition of the Rome Film Festival, on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. (Andrew Medichini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Looking 'Up'

    Clooney plays an unapologetic corporate downsizer whose untethered life is consumed by collecting air miles in the film "Up in The Air." (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Got their 'Goat'

    Clooney stars with Ewan McGregor in "The Men Who Stare at Goats," a film about a down-on-his-luck reporter (McGregor) who gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent (Clooney) who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to use paranormal powers to end war as we know it. (Overture Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Compassionate visit

    Clooney meets residents as he tours earthquake damage on the sidelines of a G8 summit, in St. Eusanio, near L'Aquila, Italy, on Thursday, July 9, 2009. (Alessandra Tarantino / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. High-level access

    Clooney speaks to the media following a meeting with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington on Monday, Feb. 23, 2009. Clooney was urging the new administration to take action on the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Movie night with dad

    Clooney joins his father, veteran journalist Nick Clooney, for a screening of the film "Good Night, and Good Luck," and a journalism panel at the Newseum in Washington on Monday, Jan. 26, 2009. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. He's used to whistles

    Clooney and Renee Zellweger, stars of the film "Leatherheads," arrive at the Historic Salisbury Station in Salisbury, N.C, on March 26, 2008, on the third stop on a Whistle Stop Express tour to promote their film . (Peter Taylor / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. The usual laughs

    Clooney and Frances McDormand star in the 2008 Coen Brothers film "Burn After Reading" about two gym employees who try to blackmail a CIA agent over a computer disk containing his memoirs. (Focus Features) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Throwback

    Clooney is touted as "The Last Movie Star" on the cover of the March 3, 2008, issue of Time magazine. "He's a throwback to what movie stars used to be," friend Grant Heslov says in the article. "You see him and you think, Wouldn't that be a great life?" (Time) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. It's a snap

    Clooney directs and stars in "Leatherheads," a romantic comedy set in the world of 1920s football, where the owner of a professional team drafts a strait-laced college sensation, only to watch his new coach fall for his fiancée. (Universal Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Boots on the ground

    Clooney, who has been designated as U.N. messenger of peace by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, visits the Zamzam refugee camp in North Darfur, Sudan, in late January 2008. (UNAMID via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. He comes in peace

    Clooney speaks at at news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York on Jan. 31, 2008, after being designated a messenger of peace. Clooney was joining eight other well-known individuals to campaign for U.N. causes. (Stephen Chernin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Lucky 'Thirteen'

    In "Ocean's Thirteen," Danny Ocean (Clooney) rounds up the boys for a third heist and they're out for revenge after casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) cuts one of the original 11, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), out of a deal. (Warner Bros. Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Peace be with them

    Clooney and fellow actor Don Cheadle, left, are presented the 2007 Peace Summit Award by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the city hall in Rome on Dec. 13, 2007. Clooney and Cheadle received the award from Nobel peace prize laureates for their campaign to help the people of Sudan's Darfur region after 4-1/2 years of war. (Dario Pignatelli / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Leg up on other ladies

    Clooney steps out with girlfriend Sarah Larson for the "Michael Clayton" premiere at The Zeigfeld on Sept. 24, 2007, in New York. Larson was injured during an accident while riding on the back of Clooney's motorcyle. The pair collided with a car in New Jersey. (Scott Wintrow / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Gotta hand it to him

    Clooney looks up as he places his hands in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on June 5, 2007. Clooney was out to promote his new film, "Ocean's Thirteen." (Damian Dovarganes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Top of the heap

    Clooney's hectic year in 2005 was acknowledged with plenty of praise from his colleagues. In addition to his two nominations for "Good Night," he also won his first Oscar for best supporting actor thanks to his work in "Syriana." (Reed Saxon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Playing with fire

    Clooney stars as a veteran CIA agent in the 2005 geopolitical thriller "Syriana," directed by Stephen Gaghan. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Speaking out

    For Clooney, 2005 was a year to be outspoken not only on screen but in person. He hesitated to attack the Bush administration directly, but was unequivocal about his own liberalism, and about the political messages in "Good Night" and in "Syriana," which depicted a tangle of power struggles in the Middle East. (Domenico Stinellis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. 'Good' fortune

    Clooney went behind the camera in 2005 to direct "Good Night, and Good Luck," about Edward R. Murrow's battle against Sen. Joe McCarthy. His second feature film received tremendous praise, and Clooney himself scored two Oscar nods for best director and best original screenplay. (Melinda Sue Gordon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Not feeling Friendly

    Clooney worked on both sides of the lens for "Good Night," portraying rumpled (and not especially dashing) but talented TV producer Fred Friendly. (Warner Independent Pictures ) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Family ties

    Clooney shares a moment with his father Nick and his mother Nina at a 2002 tribute to Rosemary Clooney, George's famous aunt. Two years later, Nick Clooney would launch a campaign for Kentucky's 4th congressional district. Despite well-stocked campaign coffers (thanks, at least in part, to some Hollywood fundraisers) he lost the race. (Michael Jacobs / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Behind the camera

    In 2002, Clooney stepped to the other side of the camera, directing "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," the somewhat-true memoir of game show producer Chuck Barris, which co-starred Drew Barrymore and Sam Rockwell. Though reviews were mixed, Clooney got credit for attempting an audacious project without an obvious Hollywood hook. (Miramax) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. What a team

    Clooney's efforts in "Ocean's Eleven" wouldn't have been possible without his co-star, Brad Pitt. The two were close both on- and offscreen. Here, along with Pitt's then-wife, Jennifer Aniston, they check out an Armani collection during a 2001 Milan fashion show. Clooney is no stranger to Italy, having bought a villa on the shores of Lake Como in 2002. (Luca Bruno / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Stirred, not shaken

    Never was Clooney's dashing rogue persona more perfect than in 2001's "Ocean's Eleven," in which he teamed again with Steven Soderbergh. Clooney's portrayal of unflappable thief Danny Ocean (with Julia Roberts as Tess, the ex-wife he can't quite give up) was a dazzling combination of Rat Pack suave and modern smarts. The film put to rest any doubt that Clooney was an A-list star out of the glamorous mold of Hollywood's past. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Giving back

    Clooney speaks at a Dec. 12, 2001, news conference for the September 11 Fund as fund CEO Joshua Gotbaumb looks on. In the months after the terrorist attacks, Clooney was instrumental not only in fundraising but in corralling Hollywood star power to produce "America: A Tribute to Heroes," a televised memorial to the World Trade Center victims that raised over $100 million. It was a sign that Clooney had found ways to harness his celebrity for worthy causes. (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Calm in the 'Storm'

    Clooney explored his dramatic roots with a leading role in "The Perfect Storm." He played Billy Tyne, the real-life fishing-boat captain whose craft vanished in a massive freak storm off the shores of Massachusetts. Despite major buzz, "Storm" never gathered quite as much momentum as the surprise success of "O Brother." (Warner Bros. via Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. 'Brother'-ly love

    Clooney (second from top) went for something completely different in the Coen brothers' 2000 bluegrass-tinged comedy, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" As a bumbling convict in a tale loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," Clooney got to stretch his pipes for the film's singing scenes -- only to have his voice dubbed over, despite his having practiced singing for weeks. (Touchstone Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Paying off

    "O Brother" was a sharp shift in tone for Clooney, but it didn't go unnoticed. He won a 2001 Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy for his efforts. (Kevork Djansezian / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Paging Dr. Ross

    Needless to say, the pivotal event in Clooney's career was his role as Dr. Doug Ross on NBC's "ER." He started with the show's pilot episode in 1994 and continued for five seasons. Clooney (pictured here in 1999) eventually wanted to pursue his film career and had the womanizing Ross written out of the show. The character eventually settled down in Seattle after fathering twins with head nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies). (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. Midas touch

    Clooney put a slightly different spin on the lovable rogue theme with his role in David O. Russell's biting 1999 Gulf War action-satire, "Three Kings." Clooney, Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg played U.S. soldiers who uncover hidden treasure in the Iraqi desert. (Warner Bros. via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Back on track

    Clooney's movie career didn't suffer long after "Batman." The following year, he starred in Steven Soderbergh's "Out Of Sight." Clooney's portrayal of Jack Foley set off a chain of charming thief roles for the chisel-jawed actor. It also marked the start of a fruitful creative partnership between Clooney and Soderbergh that continues today. (Universal Studios via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Odd 'Man' out

    Clooney followed his stellar on-screen selections with at least one dud: 1997's "Batman and Robin," in which he put on the famous cowl alongside Chris O'Donnell as youthful sidekick, Robin. Clooney did a capable job of portraying the caped crusader, but a lagging script and some puzzling touches by director Joel Schumacher (the rubber nipple suit, anyone?) left fans unimpressed. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Ladies' man

    Clooney with his then-girlfriend, French actress Celine Balitran, at the 1998 Emmy awards. Clooney's love life has largely remained a mystery, and after divorcing wife Talia Balsam in 1993, he has since vowed never to remarry. Guessing who Clooney might be dating has become an ongoing parlor game for celeb-watchers. (Albert Ortega / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Big daddy

    Clooney's fondness for the small screen didn't keep him from some marquee moments on the big one -- and 1996 was his banner year (if you discount his role in 1988's "Return of the Killer Tomatoes!"). Clooney had starring roles in "From Dusk Till Dawn" and in "One Fine Day," opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, shown here with him and child actors. (Getty Images via 20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. Look who's walking

    Clooney and Connie Selleca in a promo still from the 1990 ABC series "Baby Talk," a spinoff of the "Look Who's Talking" movie franchise. Neither actor stayed long on the short-lived series. Selleca quit before the series went into regular production, and Clooney departed soon after. (Toronto Star via ZUMA Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Just the 'Facts'

    Before his "ER" days, Clooney hit the small screen in 1985 as charming, mulleted handyman George Burnett on the NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life." Imagine the show's mousse budget. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. Growing up George

    Born in 1961 in Lexington, Ky., Clooney was raised outside Cincinnati, where his father, Nick, was a TV anchor. The A-list actor has one sister, Ada (pictured here), and several famous relatives: Singer Rosemary Clooney is his aunt, and his cousin is actor Miguel Ferrer. (Splash News via Newscom) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (68) George Clooney
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Video: Clooney discusses peace in Sudan

  1. Closed captioning of: Clooney discusses peace in Sudan

    >> we are actually going to talk about china. big event. we have george clooney lined up at 8:15.

    >> we're going to talk about sudan .

    >> jerry gave us an e-mail, sent me an e-mail to give george a big hug, but, you know, we can't finish the rest --

    >> let's figure right now a man who -- actually the head of the council on foreign relations just said an hour or two ago was using his star power to bring about change in sudan , actor george clooney . he's with us from detroit. jerry says hi.

    >> jerry white .

    >> hello, joe. hello, mika. hello, mike. i love ya .

    >> did i tell you about the time that i took sinatra to sudan in '67, blew the roof off the place.

    >> i took elvis to katum, we had a great time, we solved the world 's problems and we met a couple of ladies.

    >> there we go.

    >> the first time, and we didn't know -- we had not met jerry .

    >> i love jerry .

    >> we love jerry . the first time we have jerry on, we ask him some question about monetary policy . we're talking monetary policy and jerry breaks in with, i swear to god, a ten-minute story about sinatra taking him to houston.

    >> we heard it twice.

    >> and getting him drunk.

    >> no, it was on health care reform . so anyway --

    >> either one, you'll find a way to get the sinatra story.

    >> it's always a sinatra story. so let's talk about, we're going to make a transition from jerry --

    >> oh, no. i want to hear more.

    >> it might be a good move. to sudan .

    >> sure.

    >> and you've been working on this issue for some time. it's stunning to me that back in the 1990s we were talking about two million people killed in a sudanese civil war and then darfur over the past decade, it seems like the horrors there never end. you just got back and you're working like hell to effect change there. give us an update.

    >> it's actually been one of the brighter spots in the history of sudan in the last week or so. they had their first election. they voted for independence since 1956 . they stood in line it looks like overwhelmingly they're going to get their independence. it's going to be a long, hard slog to actually work it through and make it a successful country, but it's got a real shot. it's a lot better than being under the rule of the leaders in kartum who over the last 20 years have been in charge of some pretty heinous acts.

    >> so there's a real chance. explain to our viewers what's going to happen here. the war between the north and the south, it's been religious, it's been ethnic. they're going to try to divide the country in half, aren't they?

    >> they're basically going to try to put it back the way it was. as a lot of us who have colonized over the years, it doesn't necessarily work when you draw something and say let's make a nice country out of these two groups who actually got along okay for a long period of time but didn't particularly love each other and now they're one country. it's less religious. people like to call it a christian and muslim fight. it's more in some ways racial but it's also very much about territories. the south are farmers and the north are nomads. and so basically they fought a war ending in 2005 , killed about two and a half million people in that war, and there was an agreement that said five years from this date when they agreed, if things aren't working out for you guys as one country, then you have the right to vote for your independence, which they have decided to do overwhelmingly. and i was on the ground there during the election and i have to say it's not often you get to stand next to miles and miles of people voting for their independence for the first time. so that was exciting to do.

    >> it's unbelievable. mika, again, i've been saying two million, george just talked about two and a half million people killed. and you just wonder why the world hasn't awakened to this horror. of course if it happened in europe, then it would have been -- they wouldn't have gotten past 200,000 people killed. but it seems like the world has been ignoring sudan for too long.

    >> well, one of the reasons is because no one can see it. one of the projects you're working on is the satellite sentinel program and i take it the sudanese government doesn't like it too much.

    >> they didn't seem to be too happy with my long lens. a big issue -- i spoke to the security council at the u.n. on darfur a few years ago. one of the issues you always run into, one of the problems is you have more peacekeepers in sudan than anywhere in the world , but their mandate is so watered down with their ability to protect people because someone on the security council , one of the rotating members or sometimes china, for instance, who has a lot of business there, one of them says, well, this is just rebel infighting. and you never really have the cameras to prove it. we get shots and pictures of things afterwards and hear the tales but you don't have a view of it. so i thought let's get pictures of tanks and helicopters lined up on borders like they say they aren't beforehand, as opposed to triaging it afterwards. the government wasn't all that thrilled with that. we do things that governments don't because we're individuals.

    >> how dangerous was that? i remember back in the '90s a lot of members of congress would have to sneak into sudan and they would talk about -- frank wolf told me you fly the cessna in low, you can get into some of these refugee camps but it's very dangerous. how dangerous was it for you guys to do that?

    >> the only time it's dangerous -- look, there's so many ways -- you know, we're dipping our toe in this, obviously. but there's so many ways you can get killed there, the people who live there on a day-to-day basis. the average age is something around 36 years old for a male, i think in, chad and the neighboring nations. but it's a hard life. i was up north in the disputed border region and that's a very, very dangerous place to be. while we were there, a couple of miles from where we were, about nine people were shot and killed. it's a -- that part is tricky. and you get a little -- you know, you're not -- you don't know the neighborhood all that well so you're always a little bit off your game some, but you just keep moving .

    >> rebel infighting with a casualty count of two and a half million. more tribute to u.n. effectiveness around the world , i guess, george . but could you speak a bit about the degree of difficulty in getting the focus on the sudan , world focus on the sudan giving the level of self absorption about economic collapses that have hit nearly every industrial country in the world . how hard is it?

    >> well, as you know, it's hard to keep an oil spill in the news after they claim it's finished or it's hard to keep katrina in the news after they decide it's time to move on. the trick is, it's sort of like anything you do in my business, which is you have to sustain it but you have to let it go. you have to do it and let it go. you have to keep hitting it. you have to find things that make it newsworthy and then try to trumpet those as often as possible but you can't do it all the time because you can't sustain it. people can't keep their eye on it. this was a fairly big news story coming out with the -- with this referendum and it will go away fairly quickly and we'll have to find other reasons to keep talking about it. the truth is we have a lot of people there. we spend a billion dollars there a year already. so the argument is why don't you do it beforehand. why don't we do it where you don't have to spend money and you don't have to cost any american lives by trying to prevent the war as opposed to fixes it afterwards.

    >> george , willie geist here. i think a lot of people would be interested to know how you picked the sudan way back when. i'm sure you had people coming at you from all directions wanting you to be spokesman for their causes. i was interested to read that your group came up with brad pitt and matt damon and jerry weintrob.

    >> susie !

    >> that's how we picked the sudan . jerry just goes "i go sudan " and then we picked it.

    >> pointed to a map.

    >> a globe.

    >> was it some of the genesis of some of the ocean's 11 movies?

    >> all those guys are good friends of mine and they're socially involved in many things. for me it was reading articles in the "times" about darfur , which i was woefully late to. and i started to understand -- my father is a newsman, and, you know, he used to always talk about how he would do a story and then he'd get bumped for -- he'd do a big news story and get bumped for an entertainment piece and that was in the '70s. and not much has changed. so i said, well, let's go over there and i'll be the entertainment piece and you be the newsman and we'll sort of try to keep it in the headlights that way. you know, we've had some success at keeping it -- keeping a name on it. i have to say, you know, it's pretty frustrating. you would think once people know about something that it wouldn't happen. we always say never again.

    >> right.

    >> but the truth is that doesn't make much of a difference.

    >> let's bring into the conversation the cofounder of the enough.

    >> john, good to see you again. what should the obama administration do and the state department do? i remember back in the '90s i tried to get a resolution passed through the house condemning the civil war and the two million killed. i had opposition from the white house , from the state department , from every diplomat saying, oh, this is the worst thing in the world to do. you're going to turn over the tables. don't go there. does this state department get it? does this president get it?

    >> yeah, what's happened, i think, is the politicizization that constituencies have been built due to people like george who have brought a lot of attention to the matter, built these constituencies, particularly within faith-based communities and the student movements and now everyone from president bush to president obama takes this constituency seriously and it becomes a political issue, not just some backwater policy issue decided in the bowels of the state department .

    >> john, what do we have to do to make sure that we're not talking about sudan ten years from now? that we're not talking about the killing ten years from now?

    >> well, in six months, a new state is going to be born officially, southern sudan . that state will potentially be stillborn. if the institutions of democracy, if development initiatives are not supported right up front, it is also leaving behind a state in the north that has a history of supporting terrorism and all kinds of other negative things. that state also has to be engaged very deeply to see a depp contract transformation there. so i think the next level of effort we have to expend besides preventing new conflict between the two is laying the groundwork for real democratic transformation in both of these entities or else indeed we will be talking about these two places ten years from now as the horror movie continues.

    >> george , as you've been working on sudan for some time, do you get a sense that the united states government gets it? do you get a sense that our european allies get it? do you have a sense that this southern sudanese state won't be allowed to be stillborn six months from now?

    >> they get it. there's a lot of people that get it. the question is whether you do something about it. europe has been sort of behind this one as well. the united states , i think we dropped the ball for a period of time. i think we picked it back up and got a very, very robust diplomacy going. i think they understand now that -- believe me, we were in the sudan , i just got back, but we were there three months ago and there wasn't a person on the security council who was also there then that thought that that referendum could have taken place. it was a great sign of some real structural progress in the southern government. that means there's a chance. the fact that there was a peaceful vote and that there wasn't an all-out war, i think he was hoping the rebels would infight and i think that they avoided that, so that's a big step. they're proving to the european union , they're proving to the united states that there's a chance for success and gives hope to try and back them.

    >> hey, john, it's willie. i've got to ask you about a pretty vicious statement put out by the sudanese embassy that mentions you by name, essentially calls you an opportunist. says you have an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with peace, accusing you of parading celebrities through the country and then discarding them when you have no use left for them. this is an official statement from the embassy. pretty harsh. how do you respond?

    >> this clooney character is not easily manipulated.

    >> poor george , he doesn't know he's being set up.

    >> what would your ulterior motive be? i'm not even sure what that statement means.

    >> you know, the motive here i think is one that is shared by a lot of americans across this country and that is we want to see an end to the suffering of people in southern sudan and in darfur . this is the second deadliest war in the world since world war ii . and all we do every year as taxpayers is spend literally billions of dollars cleaning up the mess every year. and i think it's time that we invested in some solutions. so working with george , we identified how you actually address the root causes, and of course that means we're going to have to address some of the status quo, the business as usual , that these guys who wrote that press release are enjoying every day as they exploit the oil and exploit human lives. so you touched the hornets nest and it's going to start buzzing. they have said worse things about george than they have about me, so i think --

    >> i was hurt.

    >> he was devastated.

    >> i've got to tell you that seriously anybody will tell you you think new york is bad, the sudanese tabloids --

    >> oh, look out.

    >> oh, my god, they are just terrible.

    >> george , how would you rate the effectiveness of the united states nations on the ground in the sudan ?

    >> well, first of all, incredibly effective in particular with this election. the election couldn't have happened if it weren't for all the hard work that the u.n. did just in getting the registration done and getting the ballots, helping them get the ballots done. they have a difficult time. people always think of the u.n. as this one, big entity and of course it's hundreds of nations or a hundred and a half of nations and they all have very different motives and reasons for what they want to do. china certainly was enjoying oil all on their own without having to compete. so they weren't in a great rush to solve all the problems and certainly you guys have been talking about china today , they don't have the greatest history of human rights , so they're not really all that worried about darfur or the sudan , but they changed their tune. they made a huge difference, china did, in this last move. they sent envoys to south sudan and said they would acknowledge sort of this referendum. but the u.n., it's a very difficult place to be. the peacekeepers have a very tough time. for the most part, their mandate is to stand by while people are killed and not do anything, only unless they are fired on and that's a very tough thing to do.

    >> would it help or hurt if weintraub addressed the u.n.?

    >> first of all, china, you're going to have to get your act

    together: but i love your food.

    >> oh, my god.

    >> susie , susie , turn on the tv.

    >> there's an invention, china, that we came up with called the fork. try it. you get a lot more food in.

    >> i've got to go. i've got matt damon coming.

    >> i don't have time. i know, i know.

    >> i love you.

    >> george and john, thank you guys so much.

    >> great work.

    >> you're doing god's work over there. so much suffering for such a long time. we thank you for being with us and thank you for sharing your story.

    >> okay, thanks.

    >> take care.

    >>> americans really need to engage on this. it's a wonderful opportunity.

    >> this is it.

    >> we have a great breakthrough moment in sudan right now and those guys have done a great job. again --

    >> follow their lead.

    >> a lot of times you hear people, celebrities getting involved in stuff like this and you wonder if they make a big difference. the president of the cfr is saying george clooney is making a huge difference on this issue. we've got a great opportunity.

    >> john kerry said the same thing.