Global Green USA's 16th annual Millennium Awards included a "Modern Family" mini-reunion, with Julie Bowen on hand to present and Ariel Winter, to support their TV patriarch Ed O'Neill and his wife Cathy, winners of the Entertainment Leadership Award. We caught up with the O'Neills, Bowen and other celeb attendees earlier on the green carpet.
"I love awards. I never get them, so this is fun," said Ed O'Neill, admitting that he wouldn't be quite as green if Cathy didn't keep him on the eco-path. "I'm getting better about recycling," he said, now aware that takeout coffee lids and warmers are recyclable but cups are not. "You have to learn what's recyclable in your neighborhood because it's not the same everywhere you go," noted Cathy, who wore borrowed shoes and a dress acquired in a going-out-of-business sale. She also refuses plastic bags and brings her own totes, and composts for her garden. "We had herbs for the winter and have lettuce and tomatoes coming up now," she said. The couple also drives hybrids and has solar panels on their roof.
On hiatus until August, Ed hasn't seen any scripts but imagines Jay "won't be too happy at first" about TV wife Gloria's (Sofia Vergara) surprise pregnancy. "I don't know, I don't write it — I just do it, whatever it is. But I will give us a little momentum as we start the season." He's thrilled to be part of a hit series, especially at this point in his career. "I feel really fortunate to get one now, like this. It's rare, one in every 20 years."
Looking forward to a three-week vacation at their place in Hawaii this summer, the O'Neills have been together 32 years, and married in 1986, but in true better-late-than-never style, Cathy just got her engagement ring, an emerald cut diamond to replace the Claddagh ring she wore since their New York City Hall ceremony.
"It used to be a lot harder to identify who deserves to be recognized because there weren't many candidates, but now it's a little harder to pick, because the people we honored early on set the standard. Some of them were real pioneers in sustainability. There are a lot more people helping today," Global Green CEO Matt Petersen (pictured above with the O'Neills) reflected about the organization's honorees. With a green makeover of the Texas School for the Deaf now complete, he's now focusing attention on schools everywhere, developing a report card tool "so they can assess energy and water use and waste and teach students."
"I do feel very obliged and honored at once, just like I'd feel with a real dad," said Julie Bowen about presenting the O'Neills' award. "I do really feel like Ed's daughter." The hybrid-driving "Modern Family" star plans to spend her summer doing "Not a whole lot, hanging out with the kids. I just hosted the Billboard Music Awards and it was way more time consuming than I thought it would be," she said. Also there to show her "grandpa" some love, Ariel Winter thinks it's "really important to go green. On our set, we don't print our sides, we have them on iPads. It really makes a difference." The newly redhead teen is recording music she describes as Adele-like soul but more funky, and doing voiceovers for a Disney Junior fall series called "Sophia the First," playing the title character, a girl who becomes a princess when her mom marries a king. "It teaches little kids manners and etiquette," she said.
"I try to bike more and drive less. It's a twofer," said Maggie Grace, referring to the environmental and health benefits. The long-time Global Green supporter also has a garden where she grows herbs and low-water-usage plants. She has several films awaiting release, including "Decoding Annie Parker" starring Helen Hunt, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II," due in November, and "Taken 2," the sequel to the Liam Neeson action flick set for Oct. 5 release. "This one is set in Istanbul. It's a private vendetta that drives it, not a kidnapping," differentiated Grace, who will also recur in Showtime's "Californication" next season, playing "a rocker muse" to David Duchovny's novelist Hank Moody. "It's a dark sense of humor that I appreciate," she said of the show.
"Spartacus" vet Peter Mensah, now in HBO's "True Blood," reported that the set is "very green. Water bottles are gone, and we recycle on set," he noted. The drama's fifth season premieres June 10, and Mensah will make his entrance in episode two, "when you get taken into the chambers of the vampire council. You'll meet all of us at once. Each member controls a different area of the planet," explained Mensah, noting of his character, Kibwe, "I don't think he's bad. He's just a vampire trying to survive." He admitted that his retractable fangs took some getting used to. "I stabbed myself a couple of times. And you lisp when you speak. You eventually get used to it." His summer plans include continuing to do cartoon voiceovers and a visit to the school he and his mother run in their native Ghana, West Africa, called Mt. Olivet.
Angela Lindvall was eco-conscious before "green" was a label, and has raised her two sons that way. "I don't think they think twice about it, it comes very naturally to them. They learn it at school and are raised in a way that's very connected to nature, thinking about their choices," she said. Although she enjoyed hosting "Project Runway All-Stars," she wants to focus on things that allow her "to connect with my values and the environment as a mother and member of the community," and is developing a travel show about "discovering the world through my children's eyes." A recently certified kundalini yoga instructor who designs a recycled-silver jewelry line for QVC that takes its inspiration from motifs of different cultures she's gathered in her travels, Lindvall also has established the nonprofit Collage Foundation to "work with other organizations to use pop culture as a means to stimulate awareness."
D.W. Moffett learned about Global Green via Matt Petersen after their sons, who are classmates, had an overnight playdate. "It's my first Global Green event," said the actor, who keeps a green home. "We have Priuses, we try not to use any plastic at all. We don't buy any carbonated soft drinks — we make our own. My wife and daughter are vegetarian," he said, noting that he still eats turkey. He's currently shooting the eight episodes of "Switched at Birth" that will premiere on ABC Family in September, and is thrilled to be in a show about teens that doesn't short-shift the parents. His character, John, will continue to deal with his two teen girls ("They're getting older and doing things that are a little more dangerous") and the lawsuit involving the baby switch, noted Moffett, who has a 14-year-old daughter of his own and is thankful that "she's not quite as crazy as the girls in the show." Moffett also recurs on TV Land's "Happily Divorced" as Fran Drescher's love interest Elliot, and will be in the June 6 season finale that guest stars Ralph Macchio as his rival for Fran's affections.
"Whatever that can be done to support the environment hopefully I can be part of it. I'm not rich so I can't give crazy donations to Global Green or anyone but I give myself. That's all I have," said Julie Delpy. A long-time hybrid driver who nevertheless does "as little driving as possible," she recycles and buys local products. "I try to have as little waste as possible," added the actress-director, who called over-packaging that includes multiple layers of paper, cardboard and plastic "disgusting." Her next film is "2 Days in New York," a comedy she directed and costars in with Chris Rock, due out in August.
Explorer and documentarian ("Into the Cold") Sebastian Copeland's next big trip will be the one down the aisle he and fiancée Caroline Doerwald will take July 7. "It's going to be as green as we can possibly make it. It's offset, to begin with," he said of the wedding, where all the food will be locally sourced and Doerwald will wear a homemade dress. Copeland's next expedition will be a trip to Antarctica in December, accompanying a scientific research team that will sample the ocean floor, study water for contamination, and explore some global warming aspects. "I won't be trekking this time," said the adventurer, who hopes to bring his bride along. "She's a medical doctor, and we need a doctor," he said.
A native of pollution-clogged oil refinery town Port Arthur, Texas, G.W. Bailey is now a card-carrying member of Global Green who arrived at the event in a Prius cab. He's been driving one of his own for a long time, and said he's been recycling since before Los Angeles supplied separation bins. "I'm not Ed Begley," he referenced his green-standard friend and former "St. Elsewhere" costar, "but I try to stay conscious of it."
This summer, he segues from "The Closer," which ends its seventh and final season on TNT in August, to the spinoff "Major Crimes," starring Mary McDonnell, continuing to portray Lt. Provenza. "In terms of our environment, nothing has changed. Same desk, same everything. But the dynamic and the direction have changed in the sense that instead of the confession, which 'The Closer' was about, it's all about conviction, the end game. It takes it a step further." The first episode will kick off with a 14-minute, explosive action sequence, and also introduce a conflict between Provenza and his new boss. "For the first time he gets a taste of being in charge," and that leads to problems. As for the ending of "The Closer," "I think the audience will be satisfied because it's not a copout. It's a very natural conclusion to the legal problems Brenda has had."
Both shows have followed green production guidelines that include eliminating bottled water, double-sided printing of scripts and sides, and providing numerous recycling bins. "We've made videos to show other shows what we do and how we do it," noted Bailey, who isn't the only Prius driver among the cast and crew. "It looks like a Toyota dealership there," he said.
Photos: Jason Merritt/WireImage