Haskell, Griffith lend a helping hand

NEW YORK — Yet another Hollywood denizen but Southern native is spearheading a Katrina relief effort.

Mississippi’s Sam Haskell, former top TV agent at William Morris, has joined forces with D.C.-based political lobbyist Lanny Griffith to put on a concert benefiting Mississippi and Louisiana hurricane recovery funds. 

Concert, titled “Mississippi Rising,” will take place at the U. of Mississippi in Oxford on Oct. 1. 

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who has been directing that state’s response to the tragedy, welcomed the assistance.

” ‘Mississippi Rising’ is going to be a tremendous boost not just in providing desperately needed funds for our recovery effort but also in bringing national attention to our efforts as we transition from emergency relief to rebuilding Mississippi stronger, bigger and better,” Barbour said in a statement.

Haskell, who produces the Stars Over Mississippi Charity Concerts in his hometown of Amory, will be enlisting the infrastructure and the governing board of the Haskell Foundation in Amory to handle many of the logistics of the concert. 

Archie Manning, Morgan Freeman, Sela Ward, John Grisham and Brett Favre — all Mississippi natives — will be honorary chairs of the event, to be exec produced by Haskell and Griffith.  Director Penelope Spheeris and producer Hudson Hickman will produce the doc portions of the concert to be narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. 

Stars who have signed on to appear and or perform in the concert include Freeman, Ray Romano, Ward, Jason Alexander, Kathie Lee Gifford, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Mary Haskell, Lance Bass, Marilu Henner, Kathy Ireland, Debbie Allen and Goldberg.

“Mississippi’s hold on my heart moves me to help execute the concert in order to raise additional funds for the transition from relief to renewal and recovery,” Haskell said.

The costs of the event are being underwritten by a contribution to the Mississippi Hurricane Relief Fund by United Health Foundation.

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