At GBK’s gift lounge for the MTV Movie Awards, celebs and industry insiders checked out the latest products and had the opportunity to support a variety of charitable organizations. The anti-bullying nonprofit My Life My Power arranged for celebs to record PSA messages of encouragement on video, and both the George Lopez Foundation for kidney disease and Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation for juvenile diabetes asked VIPs to sign guitars that will be auctioned off at Lopez’s annual Golf Classic on May 6 and Leonard’s Charity Boxing Night on May 21. The dog rescue group Steps4Paws, Beat Liver Tumors and LGBT advocate nonprofit Lambda Legal were also on hand to raise awareness.
So was the Guard a Heart Foundation, which seeks to educate about cardiac risks and offered guests free blood tests that assess that risk and give a five-year projection whether the probability of a heart attack is low, medium or high. Jason Ritter (pictured right), who lost his father, actor John Ritter, to heart disease 10 years ago, presented a $100,000 check from cardiac testing group Aviir to the Foundation. Ritter thought his father would have approved.
“He was the kind of guy who always tried to give back, take the focus that was on him to help out,” he said, noting that Ritter Sr. was a supporter of United Cerebral Palsy because his brother was afflicted. Owing to a family friend with the hereditary disease, the younger Ritter has supported the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, but said his entire family is more aware of cardiac issues now and have been tested for aortic dissection, the condition that killed his dad. “It’s hereditary but if you get scanned you can easily fix it. My uncle got scanned a year after my dad passed and his aorta was starting to expand. Fortunately, there’s a preventative procedure and there’s no reason to die from it,” he noted, adding that his stepmother gets thank you letters from people who got tested and lived as a result.
Work-wise, Ritter, last seen on “Parenthood,” is busier than ever. He’s in the ensemble Lifetime drama “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film,” which was directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, an old friend. “My mom was in the first movie her father [Ron] directed, ‘Grand Theft Auto,’” he explained. He was to leave the next day for New York to play a “weird, dark, artist guy” in the movie “Wild Canaries,” the latest in a series of parts that include a “sleazy actor guy” in “There’s Always Woodstock,” a fellow “who’s hopelessly in love with Emmy Rossum and she keeps shining him on” in “You’re Not You,” and Charles Manson in “I Fought the Law.” Bobby Fuller had a hit with the titular song in 1965 and was found dead under mysterious circumstances shortly thereafter, and the story suggests he was murdered by the Manson family.
Ritter also shot a comedy pilot opposite Alexis Bledel, tentatively titled “Us and Them,” and is providing the voice of Dipper Pines in the Disney Channel cartoon “Gravity Falls,” which he likens to ‘The Simpsons’ meets ‘Twin Peaks,’ very bizarre and funny.” Ritter, who drives a 2004 Prius that’s “still going strong,” was glad to find so many eco-conccious products at the gift lounge, including Empress Essentials’ soy candles in recycled paper packaging and cookies from the Cookie Connection, which donates $7 per dozen to the Orphan Relief Network in Liberia. “It’s one of these conscious products that are taking and sharing the wealth,” said Ritter.
Also on the eco-side, Barbar hair tools showcased dyers that have ceramic heating element that cuts drying time and energy use. Other notable items included jewelry from Jade & Jasper and Infinite, Keratin Complex hair products and tools, Sol Republic headphones with twistable, interchangeable bands, and Broadway Nails imPRESS press-on nails. Quvenzhané Wallis, the 9-year-old star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (pictured at top,) got a manicure while she was there and loved the KuKuRuZa gourmet popcorn. She’s looking forward to playing the title role in the remake of the musical “Annie,” and said she recycles at home. “We learn about it in school,” she noted.