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Life Magazine - Taking a Stand - 2006

Angela Bassett, Sarah Jessica Parker and Tea Leoni on goodwill, giving back, and the values they teach at home

By Max Vadukul

There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about three famous actresses, married to equally famous men, chatting about their children, their work, their good deeds. After all, isn’t it easier to be charitable when you’ve got a ton of money and the resources that allow you the time to give? But here’s the thing about Téa Leoni, Angela Bassett, and Sarah Jessica Parker as women and as goodwill ambassadors for the United Nations–based children’s-aid organization UNICEF: They’re real, they care, and they walk the walk. Whether it’s visiting clinics in Honduras, meeting mothers and children in need in Vietnam, or, on this Halloween, going door-to-door trick-or-treating for UNICEF, they’re trying to create a change for the better. Over lunch, in a discussion that runs the gamut from happy Halloween memories to more sobering thoughts of never being able to do enough to effect that change, Leoni, 40, Bassett, 48, and Parker, 41, reveal themselves as typical sleep-deprived moms who appreciate small joys and grapple with big worries. And it’s hard to be cynical about any of that.

LIFE: What are your plans for Halloween?

LEONI: David [Duchovny, Leoni’s husband] and I will go out with the kids [Madelaine West, 7; Kyd Miller, 4]. There are all these other parents around. In California, it’s become a great family outing.

PARKER: I’m sure we’ll end up going out in New York. We have the pumpkins and the candy that James Wilkie [Parker’s 4-year-old son with husband Matthew Broderick] is very excited about giving out. He’s allergic to peanuts, so we buy whatever’s on sale that doesn’t have peanuts… . I had a costume all picked out for him the year he was born, but we were still in the hospital. Matthew drew these big eyebrows on [the baby’s] skullcap so James Wilkie actually had a Halloween costume when he was 1 day old.

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