As movie star and activist George Clooney was led away from the Sudanese Embassy in handcuffs, a face familiar to some stood by his side. Clooney was joined in the act of civil disobedience by his father, Nick Clooney, who has joined in, and some say inspired, his famous son’s humanitarian efforts.
Father and son were arrested for crossing a police line by the uniformed division of the Secret Service and booked into a D.C. police station. Before they were taken into custody, both men addressed the crowd of media and activists that had gathered.
“A word about us, you and we. If we are who we think we are, we should all be standing here,” Nick Clooney said. “If we are who we’ve always said we are as Americans, we should be standing here together. Because what we know is that there are people who are in danger now. We will stand with them as long as they are in danger. My son and I stand with the Sudanese.”
As they were being led away from the embassy, a reporter from THEDC.com commented to George that he looked distracted.
“I’m concerned with my father, making sure he’s okay right now,” he said. “He’s 78 years old and has never been arrested before.”
The Clooneys began their humanitarian involvement with Sudan in 2006 and 2007 when they went there to film the documentary “A Journey to Darfur.” The film chronicled the struggles of the Sudanese people, hundreds of thousands of whom had fled the country and were seeking shelter in refugee camps in neighboring Chad.
Nick Clooney was a reporter and anchorman in earlier years. A native of Maysville, Ky., he was a news anchor in Lexington before hosting the “Nick Clooney Show,” a morning talk show that began in Columbus, Ohio, and was later picked-up by a station in Cincinnati.
He gained national fame in the mid-1970s when he began hosting the ABC daytime game show “The Money Maze.” After the show was canceled, he returned to anchoring,working over the next two decades at stations in Ohio, Utah and California. He hosted many telethons during his television news career, joined by his family.
“My wife, and Ada, my daughter, and George, my son, would be right there helping out all through the 36 hours of the telethon,” Clooney said in a 2010 interview with Cincinnati station WLWT.
Nick Clooney said he believes that contributed to his son’s involvement in humanitarian efforts. He said George has never been afraid to use his fame to affect change and focused his recent efforts on the suffering in Darfur.
“George was at the height of his celebrity, and he called me the day after he won his Oscar back in 2006,” Clooney said. “He said, ‘Pop, I’ll never have more juice than I have now.”
Others arrested at today’s rally included President of United to End Genocide and former Congressman Tom Andrews; Congressmen Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Al Green, D-Texas, Jim Moran, D-Va., and John Olver D-Mass.; Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous; and Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast, according to a police statement.