July 05, 2001 10:30 AM

Philadelphia went Hollywood on the 4th of July, when the City of Brotherly Love witnessed a staged reading of the Declaration of Independence. Among the cast: Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Whoopi Goldberg. The televised event, carried on ABC, was conceived as part of TV producer (“All in the Family”) Norman Lear’s public campaign to promote the message of the Declaration, which enshrines Americans’ “unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Lear, who bought the document for a good deal of money at auction last year, told PEOPLE recently: “Something over $8 million is a lot of money for anything. But there are some things that are beyond price, and this is one of those things. It was worth the life of 56 signers and their families and hundreds of thousands more. At the same time, the money spent for it is hardly as important as the blood that was shed, and what it has meant to the world since.” As Lear also noted, “This particular one-page document either triggered, or was mentioned in every move for freedom since, from the French Revolution to China in Tienanmen Square.”

You May Like

EDIT POST