Thailand's Phi Phi Island served as the paradise location for the Leonardo DiCaprio film "The Beach." But the Asian tsunami disaster turned that paradise into a hell, with 3,000 residents of the tiny island either dead or missing.
Now DiCaprio is donating an undisclosed sum to relief efforts there, and has set up a link on his Web site for anyone who wants to contribute to that effort.
"I wanted to concentrate my money," the actor recently said at a promotional appearance for his new film "The Aviator," "because I had such a wonderful experience there and the people were wonderful to me."
From Hollywood to Sydney, Australia, many of the world's most fortunate individuals are giving generously to the world's least fortunate.
Actress Sandra Bullock donated $1 million to the Red Cross. Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova gave a $10,000 check directly to the Thai prime minister. Formula-1 racer Michael Schumacher has pledged a whopping $10 million.
Action star Jackie Chan has given around $64,000 to UNICEF; actor Chow Yun-Fat has given approximately $25,000 to a charity relief fund established by Hong Kong's "Apple" newspaper.
Other stars of the creative world are donating, as you might expect, creatively. Rock band Linkin Park, fresh off a tour of Southeast Asia, has formed a charity with the Red Cross called Music for Relief. The group got the ball rolling with a $100,000 donation, and is asking fans and other artists to dig into their pockets.
"We're trying to create awareness and all the money that's donated through the bands and fans and everybody out in the music community is going to go directly to the international response fund and go directly to help the victims of this horrible disaster over there," says Linkin Park drummer Rob Bourdon.
Following in the footsteps of star-studded charity events like Live Aid, which helped victims of African famine in the 1980s, and the post-Sept 11 charity concerts, a growing list of bands is said to be putting together a major fund-raising event at Millennium Stadium in Wales on Jan. 22, with U2 and Coldplay among the artists invited to participate.
A separate charity single may be recorded with musical stars like Boy George, Olivia Newton-John, and Robin and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. Similarly, around 70 Hong Kong music and film stars re-recorded "We Are the World" in Mandarin and Cantonese for a recent Chinese telethon for tsunami victims.
Kobe Bryant, perhaps hoping for some good PR, is one of seven NBA stars giving $1,000 to UNICEF for every point he scores in a game this week. Tonight Show host Jay Leno will auction off one of his Harley Davidson motorcycles, this one covered in celebrity autographs, with proceeds going to charity. The three top-ranked men's tennis players -- Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, and Lleyton Hewitt -- will offer autographed rackets to an auction, with proceeds going to UNICEF.
Even Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova is chipping in. Nemcova was vacationing at a Thai beach resort when the tsunamis hit. Nemcova, who graced the cover of the 2003 "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue, clung to a tree when waves overwhelmed the beach hut where she and her boyfriend were staying. She suffered broken bones and was treated at a local hospital. Her boyfriend remains missing.
Nemcova has gotten "US Weekly" magazine to donate proceeds of the sales of photographs of her hospital recuperation to the charity "Save the Children."