We don't generally turn to inspirational humanitarian news for our gossip, but that's where we found sort of an accidental blind item hiding in plain sight over the weekend. According to the OC Register, a 17-year-old Zimbabwean boy named Beloved traveled to the States last year for reconstructive surgery on his face; he had been disfigured in a land-mine explosion when he was 10. The cost: $180,000, which a charity administrator named Jennifer Trubenbach had reportedly wrangled from a "movie star, whose face is a common sight in celebrity magazines." And why won't she name him? Because the next thing she knew, the star yanked the cash:
[T]wo days before the Oct. 29 surgery, the celebrity's people sent Trubenbach an email saying they had one condition: The actor would only write the check if Trubenbach agreed to turn over the boy's passport to his foundation. Dumbfounded, Trubenbach asked why, but got no answer. She wouldn't do it. The celebrity pulled his offer. The surgery was going to be cancelled, Trubenbach tearfully told Brenda Hampton, a friend of hers who is also the producer of TV shows Seventh Heaven and The Secret Life of an American Teenager. On Sunday, with less than 24 hours left before the scheduled surgery, Hampton called American Express to get approval for a $180,000 purchase on her card.Almost a year later, the kid is fixed up, and we're wondering who's got both the juice to make a deal like this and the balls to pull the plug on the eve of his surgery. Everybody in Hollywood gives, but only a few select charitable souls have their own foundations: The Bruce Willis Foundation has some history with Africa, as does (obviously) the Jolie/Pitt Foundation. Dwayne Johnson's Rock Foundation mission is "to make every child smile," but seems to mostly focus on Americans. Ideas, anyone?
- Zimbabwe village outcast embraced by O.C. school kids [OC Register]