"Mad Men" Stars Do Good
In honor of "Blog Action Day," we asked some of the stars of the popular AMC series "Mad Men" what they do to make the world a better place (aside from entertaining millions of us every Sunday night with their ad agency antics -- and come to New York for a night to help Brooks Brothers launch its "Mad Men" suit, which we'll be telling you about later). Although the show is set in the 1960s, their concerns are very current.
"What we put into our lives, what we choose to eat, is the biggest statement I can make," says Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell, an Account Executive at Sterling Cooper. Kartheiser wasn't always as aware. "I ate meat four years ago and smoked cigarettes four years ago," he says. It wasn't easy, but he gave both up. "If I didn't accept they were bad, I never would have quit. But that was the first step. I see a lot of things I need to do to change. We need to take that step and say this is something I should do, and even if don't do it yet, that's a step in the right direction," he says. He has taken action to reduce consumption and protect the environment. "I don't drive - I only take public transportation, and I don't believe in having children," he says. He also doesn't wear fur and doesn't buy leather. And just where might you find him eating a vegetarian meal? Café Muse, in his neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Janie Bryant, the Emmy-award-winning costume designer of the show, is in charge of some of the smallest details to give the show an authentic 1960s feel, but when it comes to doing good, she has one basic principle. "The most important thing I can do to improve the world is to have positive thoughts. That's what creates everything: energy, recycling, reinventing. It all comes from there," she says.
Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane - the head of the Television Department on the show - says, "I have two causes I think of every day," His brother spent a year in a half there in the military and made it home. "I oppose the war, but I support the guys who are over there. So I support Operation Homefront," a nonprofit that supports our troops and helps the families they leave behind, Sommer says. His other cause: gay rights. "These are people I live with, work with, am friends with," he says, noting it's not right that they may be treated differently back in his home state of Minnesota than in New York or California.