Links-loving stars turned out for the 5th Annual George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic benefiting the George Lopez Foundation to raise funds and awareness for kidney disease and organ donation. Held at the Lakeside Country Club, the event raised $500,000 for the cause. "It goes to send kids to camp and help people who are sick and may need a kidney and also may need information. It's nice to see it get bigger every year," said Lopez, himself a kidney recipient, who regularly donates a portion of his concert proceeds to the cause. He's currently doing warm-up dates in preparation for a new HBO special, "It's Not Me, It's You," that he'll perform July 14 from L.A.'s Nokia Theater.
He's also hosting a Fox summer dating show premiering June 7 called "Take Me Out," based on a successful European format involving 30 women competing for the affections of one man. "I like the fact that I'm able to do so many different things. I've acted, produced, done voice stuff, toured and hosted and promoted and this is just another thing. If it's fun for me, I think it will be fun for people to watch," he said, noting of his now-defunct talk show, "it was a great two years." He's already done a recording session for the sequel to "The Smurfs" and is writing a book targeted for Father's Day 2013 release. As for green living, he's careful about using "as many environmentally friendly products in the house as I can and how I dispose of the things that I use."
"It's important that we all rally behind this cause, getting the media behind it and donating to raise money," said former Olympian and current Kardashian family patriarch-by-marriage Bruce Jenner, who "donated tons of stuff, Wheaties boxes, Kardashian perfume, you name it" to the charity's auction. An avid golfer who plays daily, he drives a Porsche and an Escalade, but also mountain bikes and rides his motorcycle often or hops on his wife's Vespa on coffee runs to save gas.
"I came out to support George and all the wonderful things that he does in the world," said pal Cheech Marin, who's played in the tournament every year. While waiting to find out if his CBS sitcom "Rob" gets a pickup, Marin is writing an essay series on the Chicano experience for "The Huffington Post." He saves water by following an old bathroom mantra: "If it's mellow, let it mellow; brown, it goes down."
Jack Wagner was of similar mind: "I don't flush the toilet every time I use it." A lifelong golfer, he goes "on hiatus from it in the winter but I'm starting to shake off the cobwebs and get back into it. We all support each other's charities," he said, noting that Lopez participated in a golf tourney benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for which Wagner is West Coast ambassador, three weeks before. "My brother is a survivor and had a transplant in '07."
Although he was eliminated early, which he believes had something to do with his lack of a social network presence, Wagner is glad that he did "Dancing With the Stars" and is looking forward to returning for the May 21-22 finale. "I'm rehearsing this week, doing the samba again." The "Bold and the Beautiful" daytime star enjoyed having the prime time exposure and hopes to do another network series, as well as a play but is keeping mum on possible projects. "I'm very superstitious," he said.
Aimee Garcia, who played Lopez' niece Veronica in his self-titled sitcom, signs up for the Classic every year. "I'm getting better, baby steps," said the actress, who might have two series on TV this fall. She's continuing as the title character's son's nanny in Showtime's "Dexter," and is waiting to hear if her pilot "County" makes the NBC schedule. "It's about six rookies fresh out of med school — we have the medical degrees but lack the experience. It's our first day at County Hospital and it's like a war zone there," described Garcia, who stars alongside Jason Ritter, Michael Imperioli and Michael B. Jordan in the show created by "Friday Night Lights" Emmy winner Jason Katims. "It's a dream job," she raved, not taking anything away from her "Dexter" experience and a character she finds "hot, sexy, fun, and also educated, she's a grad student. She's just as comfortable flirting as she is studying. And I really like that she's good at her job." She thinks finding out about Dexter's murderous activities "would crush her, because she sees him as kind of a role model and father figure."
Fortunately, "Dexter," which starts shooting in two weeks and will premiere September 30, will likely not overlap with "County" if the latter gets picked up. Garcia, who successfully lobbied her apartment building to provide recycling bins, brings her own bags to the grocery store and wants to start growing her own vegetables, "kale and stuff like that."
"Coming out to support a charity and play a little golf, it's a win-win," said Dave Annable, participating for the third year. He'd just returned from three weeks in New York, where he shot a pilot for the ABC supernatural drama "666 Park Avenue," which he compared to "Rosemary's Baby." He and Rachael Taylor play a young couple that move into an apartment building to manage it and find that supernatural things are going on. "Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams are in it, so it's a great cast. Fingers crossed," said the former "Brothers & Sisters" star. He'd have to relocate to New York if it's picked up, but in the meantime he and his wife Odette ("House") have rented a summer house in Venice Beach, where they often do beach cleanup. "We've gone out and done our part."
Boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard said his wife keeps their household eco-friendly by buying organic products and shopping farmers markets. "It's all about conserve, preserve," said Leonard, happy to be able to "use our celebrity and our connections to make a difference in someone's life" by participating in the Classic. "It's a wonderful feeling." Leonard runs his own Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation that raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation via events like the charity boxing night he'll hold on May 22. As for his golf game, "I don't want to say it's suffering but it's in desperate need of rehabilitation," laughed Leonard, whom Usher Raymond will portray in the Roberto Duran bio movie "Hands of Stone." "I'm really excited about it," said the former welterweight champ. "We've already talked for an hour or so."
"George has helped me with a number of Down's Syndrome initiatives and payback in this case was a piece of cake. I stink, but I love to golf. It's like a jigsaw puzzle to me," said John C. McGlnley, whose son has the syndrome. The actor hits the greens as often as he can, but has been busy of late, shooting "42," about Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, with Harrison Ford and Christopher Meloni. He'll soon head to Miami to shoot a six-episode recurring role on "Burn Notice," playing the boss of star Jeffrey Donovan's Michael Weston. He has a few films in the can including the comedy "Get a Job," about coddled young people struggling to make it in the workplace (he plays a boss in that, too), "Watercolor Postcards," about a painter's friendship with a young girl who loses her mom, "The Discoverers," about a family who follow in Lewis and Clark's footsteps, and "Alex Cross," a thriller in the "Silence of the Lambs" vein based on the James Patterson protagonist, starring Tyler Perry and Ed Burns. It'll be out in October.
Like Leonard, McGinley leaves it to his spouse to keep his home green. "Before we got married, my wife said, 'We have to be better about the recycling.' I said, 'Piece of cake.' We're very well regimented. Nicole has that down."
Columbus Short ("Scandal"), who's also diligent about recycling at home, came out to support the Lopez Foundation and "do something good for people who can't afford it." An "average golfer," he said his game is improving. "I play around three times a week. I play with Don Cheadle a lot," he said. The "Scandal" season finale airs May 17 on ABC.
"I've known George for a long time. He used to be my opening act. I remind him of that all the time," said saxophonist Kenny G., who plays golf "enough to be pretty good." At the Classic, he was preparing to leave for a concert tour of Asia, visiting China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea, with several U.S. dates on tap this summer. His most recent album "Namaste India" is a collaboration with Indian musician Rahul Sharma; the first single is "Namaste." While touring expends considerable energy and increases his carbon footprint, "there is something I do on the road," he said. "I only use one towel when I'm in my hotel room. I might use the same towel for four days, hang it up to dry. And I don't have them change my sheets. I shower before I go to bed so my sheets are always clean."
KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer said his band hasn't quite figured out how to reduce energy consumption on tours like the big one they're launching this summer, but he does what he can to do so at home. "We try to cut back and conserve as much as we can on our utilities. You get perks from the electric company and the water company if you do that. We recycle regularly and are really diligent about that. I probably could do better, to be honest with you — I think we all could — but it's something I think about."
A self-described "middle of the road golfer" who plays every week or so and tries to squeeze in an occasional game on the road, Thayer came down to support Lopez, who did the same for him at a fundraiser a couple of years ago. "I'm on the board of trustees of Pacific University in Oregon, and I host a fundraiser for the school's endowment every summer," he explained. Band mates Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons don't share his love of golf, but Simmons "did make a valiant attempt" for the Oregon benefit. "He came up with a crew from 'Gene Simmons Family Jewels' to film, and they did a whole episode around him trying to play golf."
Photos: Michael Buckner/WireImage (John C. McGinley by Gerri Miller)