Star Power

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GENERIC: celebrity, volunteering, volunteer, paparazzi, star, saint
CBS

If you feel like you can't hear about a celebrity without also hearing about his or her favorite cause, well, you're not the only one.

Pamela Fiori, editor-in-chief of Town and Country Magazine, has noticed so much celebrity giving she's started devoting an annual issue to philanthropy.

"People look at celebrities as people who have superficial lives and in order to counter that, one really good way is to show that, 'I, as a celebrity, really have an interest in the betterment of humanity and that I'm not as silly and superficial as you might think,'" Fiori tells CBS Sunday Morning contributor Rita Braver.

But Fiori says she has no doubts about the motives of celebrities she's featured: entertainers like singer-song writer Sting and his work for the Rainforest Foundation; actress Tea Leoni, her family long involved in Unicef and Michael J. Fox, who himself suffers from Parkinson's disease.

It seems like this idea of celebrities has been around along time.

"You just have to think about people like Bob Hope and his USO tours," Fiori says.

Then there's actor Paul Newman and his buddy, writer A.E. Hotchner.

The Newman's Own brand, composed of almost 100 products now, all started with salad dressing in 1982.

"We mixed it up in Newman's basement and gave it out to neighbors at Christmas time," Hotchner says. "The idea of Newman's was we wanted accolades for his salad dressing. So he said, 'Let's try it in the local deli or whatever.' He was never in it to make money. He just wanted people to say 'Newman, that's a great salad dressing.'"

All of the profits are given away to charities like the Hole In The Wall Camps that Newman started for children with cancer. He takes a low-key approach to the whole thing, preferring that Hotchner be the spokesman.

Newman and Hotchner have written a book called "Shameless Exploitation," detailing how they use Newman's fame for good causes, like the time they tried to order a bus to help some needy children in Florida.

After being told there was a year's wait for the bus, Hotchner urged Newman to use his star power.