—McKean's Triumph Creates the Largest Single Donation Ever for the Cancer Charity, the IMF—
—Money Earmarked to Create the Michael McKean-Lee Grayson Fund in Honor of McKean and in Memory of his Friend Lee Grayson—
North Hollywood, Calif. – May 7, 2010 – "This is an amazing and overwhelming moment for the IMF," said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the International Myeloma Foundation, as she received a check for one million dollars from the producers of "Jeopardy!." Film, TV, theater and rock icon Michael McKean remained undefeated as the "smartest man in Hollywood" as he won the top prize on the "Jeopardy!" Million Dollar Celebrity Invitationalafter a two-day final May 6 and 7.This is the largest single donation the IMF, a cancer charity, has ever received, and this is the first time "Jeopardy!" has ever awarded one million dollars in a celebrity tournament.
"The International Myeloma Foundation continues its tireless fight regardless of who's helping foot the bill," said Michael McKean. "I'm glad I was able to kick in my share."
"Because of the money at stake, the material for this year's Celebrity Invitational Tournament was more difficult than our normal celebrity fare," said "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek. "I thought all three finalists, Michael McKean, Jane Curtin and Cheech Marin, proved that they were up to this challenging material. Michael, in particular, was strong in all categories, and the IMF was lucky to have him represent them in the competition."
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects production of blood cells and can damage bone, and it is on the rise, affecting increasingly younger people. McKean began supporting the IMF when his good friend and fellow guitar player Lee Grayson was battling the disease. He continues that support in Lee's memory. The IMF will use the money to start the Michael McKean - Lee Grayson Fund.
Susie Novis added, "A million dollars will do so much to help the myeloma community, by empowering patients and their families through education and offering them realistic hope for a brighter future through research. Michael McKean and our new friends at 'Jeopardy!' have helped us beyond words, and touched the lives of people around the world."
Grammy Award winner, Academy Award nominee, Michael McKean is a multi-talented actor, writer and director who is associated with some of pop culture's most iconographic film and television shows of the last three decades. He has appeared in hundreds of movies and TV shows. He is best known for creating memorable characters such as "Lenny" in "Laverne & Shirley" and lead singer/guitarist/songwriter in the classic motion picture "This is Spinal Tap." Most recently, Michael has been performing on Broadway in Tracy Letts' new play "Superior Donuts."
The IMF plans to use the exceptionally generous winnings to fund research to find a cure for myeloma, and to help patients and their families through education, because informed patients do better medically and emotionally.
Susie concluded, "Thanks to Michael McKean and everyone at 'Jeopardy!' we have the resources to empower patients and help change the lives of people all over the world!"
Information about the International Myeloma Foundation can be found at www.myeloma.org
Video of the winning moment can be found at http://www.jeopardy.com/minisites/celebrityjeopardy/
ABOUT the international myeloma foundation
The International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma organization, reaching more than 195,000 members in 113 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses in four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 200 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and operates Bank on a Cure®, a unique gene bank to advance myeloma research. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE.
Contact: GL BioCom Partners
Los Angeles: Stephen Gendel 212-918-4655
New York: Jennifer Anderson 212-918-4642