Hollywood’s biggest night has arrived, and as the red carpet is rolled out for the annual parade of paparazzi magnets DogTipper rolls back the years to pay homage to a few Oscar winners of the past who have also won the admiration of dog devotees for helping our four-legged friends in need.
Kim Basinger— The actress whose name was called out as the winner of the Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the movie L.A. Confidential joined with The Humane Society of the United States to lead the call to end dental experiments on dogs at a major university. The star has also helped Dogs Deserve Better in the non-profit’s quest to let dogs break free from the cruel practice of chaining.
Bette Davis— The two-time Oscar winner for her commanding presence in the movies Jezebel and Dangerous acted as president of the Southern California branch of The Tailwaggers Foundation in 1929– a role which included several fundraising efforts. Today the organization honors the animal-loving legend’s support by bestowing the Bette Davis Award each year to a member of the entertainment industry who has used their star wattage to shine a spotlight on animal welfare. (Former Academy Award nominee Linda Blair was the recipient of the 2015 Bette Davis Award for her dogged devotion to helping homeless animals through the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation.)
Dame Judi Dench— Having won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love, the acclaimed star is a queen of hearts for taking on a leading role in the world of animal welfare. The high-profile pet parent to a dog, three cats, ducks, pigs and a fish co-stars with Ricky Gervais and Downton Abbey cast members Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley) and Peter Egan (Hugh “Shrimpy” MacClare) in a video for the Soi Dog Foundation which seeks to end the horror of the dog meat trade. The actress has also attended Wetnose Animal Aid Rescue Awards, made a donation to Guide Dogs and helped out feline friends by participating in Cats Protection’s annual Celebrity Paws fundraiser.
Joan Fontaine— She shared the silver screen with Sir Laurence Olivier in Rebecca, Orson Welles in Jane Eyre and Cary Grant in Suspicion, but away from the bright lights of the entertainment world rescue her canine companions were the Oscar winner’s real life co-stars. A 2014 auction of many of the late star’s personal possessions, and the sale of her Carmel, California home, raised funds for The SPCA for Monterey County.
Celeste Holm— The actress who walked up to the podium in 1947 to accept an Oscar for her part in the movie Gentlemen’s Agreement strolled on the catwalk several times with her dog during annual New Yorkie Runway fundraisers for the Angel on a Leash Foundation, which creates therapy dog programs for hospitals and institutions.
Linda Hunt— The actress who garnered an Oscar for her role in the 1982 drama The Year of Living Dangerously acts as a Best Friends Animal Society celebrity ambassador, and over the years has filmed and recorded PSAs for the renowned non-profit, helped adorable adoptables step into the spotlight at a NKLA Pet Adoption Weekend, and spoke out on the plight of puppy mill dogs.
Shirley Jones— Although the bright lights of Hollywood dimmed her dream of becoming a veterinarian, over the years the 1961 Best Actress Oscar recipient has used her star wattage to illuminate a number of animal welfare issues, including the plight of factory-farmed turkeys and the need to care for injured wildlife through the Big Bear Alpine Zoo (a rehabilitation facility for hurt and orphaned animals, with a release rate of 90 per cent). A proud pet parent, the former matriarch of The Partridge Family has also taken part in New Leash on Life’s Nuts for Mutts fundraiser, and has attended a Paws for Cure event benefiting the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation.
Diane Keaton— The Academy Award winner for her work in Annie Hall, the star acts as a member on the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s board of directors. In the past the star has cast herself in the role of spokesperson for a Home for the Holidays pet adoption drive, talked with donors during fundraising telethons and starred in a series of PSAs. Along with her dedication to the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Keaton also helped to promote the option of pet adoption at the premiere of her 2012 Fido-themed flick, Darling Companion.
Cloris Leachman— Along with being the 1972 winner of the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category for her work in The Last Picture Show, the actress is also a celebrity ambassador for Best Friends Animal Society and has shown her support for The Humane Society of the United States, Rikki’s Refuge and Much Love Animal Rescue.
Shirley MacLaine— The 1984 recipient for Best Actress in a Leading Role in Terms of Endearment took on the role of pet parent in 2014 when she welcomed a Jack Russell Terrier named Trixie Harmony into her heart and home. The star adopted the pup at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, a non-profit which MacLaine has helped through donations of autographed clothing items for the shelter’s fundraising resale shop. The actress has also used her voice for those who cannot speak for themselves as the narrator of a video highlighting the history of the American Humane Association.
Marlee Matlin— Her first silver screen appearance in Children of a Lesser God led to an Academy Award, and when the actress stepped in front of the camera to film a PSA for Dogs for the Deaf she won the hearts of animal lovers. The Switched at Birth star has also attended fundraisers to further the mission of Dogs for the Deaf, a non-profit which rescues shelter dogs in order to offer them a new lease on life as assistants to those facing physical, mental and emotional challenges.
Matthew McConaughey— The 2014 Oscar winner/multi-rescue pet parent became a real life action star when he helped to save the lives of 70 companion animals left stranded by Hurricane Katrina.
Hilary Swank— The owner of two golden Oscar statuettes, the actress also possess a heart of gold. The recent co-host of Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular, a TV special which promoted the option of pet adoption, the actress has also acted as host at the launch of Best Friends Animal Society’s NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles) movement; helped to shine a spotlight on the plight of Romania’s stray dogs, and has started her own charity, the Hilaroo Foundation.
Elizabeth Taylor— The silver screen Giant may have passed away in 2011, but she left behind a legacy of love for both people and pets in need through The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which has provided support for various chapters of Pets are Wonderful People (PAWS) over the years.
Charlize Theron— The 2004 Best Actress winner for Monster, the A-lister’s behind the scenes credits include inhabiting the role of a celebrity ambassador for Best Friends Animal Society.
Robin Williams— When the comedic star passed away in 2014 the world lost not only an Academy Award-winning talent, but also a compassionate soul. A pet parent to Leonard, a Pug from Curly Tails Pug Rescue, Williams posed with his four-pawed pal for a celebrity pet calendar which benefited Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). A long-time supporter of the non-profit organization, the famous funny man also raised people’s spirits as he raised funds for the paws cause at ARF’s 2012 Stars to the Rescue event.
Photo Credit: The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation; William Waldron/Getty Images for FOX