January 05, 2005 08:00 AM

George Clooney and Steven Spielberg are the latest celebrities to join the tsunami relief effort following the deadly Dec. 26 quake in South Asia.

The film director, who is hoping that his donation will spur others to contribute, has pledged $1.5 million, to be divided between the charities Save the Children, CARE and Oxfam, all of which are at work in the devastated areas where the death toll has climbed past 150,000.

Spielberg’s publicist, Marvin Levy, said that while the filmmaker and his family usually keep their charity donations private, Spielberg is going public to encourage others to give what they can.

Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio, has made his own “sizable” donation to the effort. Reports have said that the actor’s donation was $1 million, the same amount Sandra Bullock gave this week to the American Red Cross.

As for Clooney, he, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow and Tim McGraw are among those who have been announced to appear on the Jan. 15 fundraising benefit that will air on NBC and on all of the network’s cable outlets, reports the New York Post.

Wednesday night, local New York outlet WNBC will telecast a relief special from both coasts, starring Clay Aiken, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Debra Messing, Julianne Moore, Dustin Hoffman, Alyssa Milano and Tea Leoni. The special, which is being produced in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Relief Fun, will air on 14 NBC-owned stations nationwide.

In terms of live events, on Sunday singing legend Willie Nelson will headline a Texas concert titled The Tsunami Relief Austin to South Asia, to be held in the Austin Music Hall. Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo and Bruce Robison are also scheduled to participate.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be spread between the American Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.

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