Pop Culture

Does Jolie lead Hollywood by example?

Has Angelina finally turned Hollywood on its proverbial philanthropic ear?

Ever since the actress decided to do something personally about the horrors of poverty and disease in Third World nations, it seems that every star with a cause (and access to a jet) is jumping to the aid of those who need it most.

So what's the motivation behind the altruism?

Was it Angelina herself?

“Angelina has raised the bar and has changed her image by helping Third World nations,” Hollywood media image consultant Michael Sands said. “I think Bono is neck and neck with Angelina, but people pay more attention to Angelina because of her adopted children. The public pays more attention to a woman and mother. We all trust Angelina as the U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. Angelina is the Mother Teresa of our generation.”

But the competitive field is becoming more crowded. Who else is in the running to be Mother Theresa Jr.?

Naomi Watts, who has been named a special representative to the U.N. program for HIV/AIDS, alongside dark-haired beauties, Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek, who made a trip to Guatemala as part of a solidarity tour organized by the YouthAIDS international organization.

Several celebrities have made trips to the genocide-ravaged Darfur region of the Sudan —including Mia Farrow, George Clooney and Don Cheadle.

But Angelina's biggest prodigy may be the man in her life — Brad Pitt — whose most recent cause has been close to home and heart — working with Global Green USA, a national environmental organization, on a competition to choose ecologically sound designs for rebuilding neighborhoods in post-Katrina New Orleans. Brad's also been an integral part of Bono's “One” campaign.

“[Angelina] appears to have a big influence on Brad … Brad is learning his lessons from the woman, Angelina, who created this image of the world,” Sands told us. “I believe, Brad has found deep love with Angelina. Angelina has found a soul mate who is interested in helping others with his professional success. I think this may be a Warren Beatty and Annette Bening marriage.”

If they get married, that is.

But Sands says the jury's still out on whether Brad will stick with his humanitarian efforts for the long haul.

Many of the newbies, however, have quite a fundraising ways to go before catching up with Hollywood's royalty when it comes down to giving back.

Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and Oprah are just a few examples of stars who have been raising big bucks for their respective causes for years, while Angelina was still raising her hand in class.

Newman chose an unlikely vehicle to get the charity cash — tasty salad dressing — which has tossed in more than $200 million for good causes since 1982.

The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation has raised $8 million since 1991, according to their Web site. And according to the UCLA AIDS Institute, as national chair of the American Foundation for AIDS research, the violet-eyed beauty has helped to raise more than $233 million in voluntary contributions.

As for the queen of daytime television — Oprah Winfrey — she has raised more than $50 million, including monies for Hurricane Katrina victims, through her "Oprah's Angel Network."

Even Paris Hilton gave a little of herself to the less fortunate.

After settling her sex-tape legal scrap, the hotel heiress revealed that her share of the proceeds — about $400,000 — was going to charity.

Paris just wanted to “turn this situation into something positive,” her reps stated.

TOP