Warren Beatty on the phone as he campaigns for Senator George McGovern’s Democratic presidential nomination.

Leading up to his 1972 presidential bid, Senator George McGovern, who died over the weekend at the age of 90, met with a group of Hollywood celebrities at the home of Shirley MacLaine. Since he was not well-known and had little support within the Democratic Party, it was decided that the entertainment industry could lend the McGovern campaign some much-needed credibility, charisma and cash.

And so a new generation of Hollywood liberal activists emerged, the first to do so since McCarthyite blacklists of the early ’50s had driven showbiz liberalism deep into the walk-in closets of Malibu and Mulholland Drive.

Warren Beatty, MacLaine’s brother, scheduled a series of high-profile concerts, fundraisers and East Hampton pickup baseball games, attended by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Burt Lancaster, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight and so on. “We got involved because we were people who cared,” Norman Lear told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday.

As such, we thought it a fitting tribute to the fallen senator to eulogize him in a pictorial we’re calling:

Style Icons for George McGovern…

 
Hunter S. Thompson with McGovern on the campaign trail

 
Jack Nicholson and Buck Henry at a McGovern fundraiser in Hollywood

 
George Plimpton at bat in the Southampton vs. East Hampton fundraiser for McGovern

 
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel rehearsing “Together with McGovern,” backstage at Madison Square Garden

 
(Left) Paul Newman at the Stars for McGovern Benefit Fundraiser at Madison Square Garden; (Right) Dustin Hoffman at the Southampton vs. East Hampton fundraiser for McGovern

 
Ryan O’Neal at the Stars for McGovern Campaign Rally at Madison Square Garden

 
Paul Newman and Shirley MacLaine

 
Jesse Jackson at the 1972 Democratic National Convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center

 
Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand

 
Dustin Hoffman and wife, Anne Byrne, at the Stars for McGovern Campaign Rally at Madison Square Garden

 
Groucho Marx with Jack Nicholson at a McGovern event in Los Angeles

 
Groucho Marx with Alice Cooper

 
Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson and guest at the Stars for McGovern Campaign Rally at Madison Square Garden

And just like that, George Clooney’s fundraising efforts for Obama don’t seem so extraordinary…

—C.B.S.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • C. Brian Smith