From left, actors John Goodman, George Clooney, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Matt Damon at the French premiere of 'Monuments Men.' (Jacques Brinon/AP)
Hey, George Clooney: A Texas congresswoman could use a hand in honoring the real-life Monuments Men.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is plugging away on her bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal — one of the highest civilian awards in the nation — to the five surviving members of the monuments men and women who were tapped during World War II to find and return works of art confiscated by the Nazis. The efforts of these men and women are featured in a new movie called Monuments Men, starring Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman, that’s in theaters now.
Granger recently told The Hill that she enlisted Murray’s help with her bill, which now has 80 co-sponsors as of Monday. She’s not shy about saying she’d also like the help of Clooney, the mega-watt star who bought the rights to Robert Edsel’s 2009 book and brought it to the big screen.
“I don’t believe it can be overstated how significant the contributions of the Monuments Men are to the preservation of many of the world’s most remarkable pieces of art,” Granger said in December when she introduced the legislation. “The story of the Monuments Men is one that has to be told, and should be shared as an instrumental part of U.S. and world history.”
The Kimbell Art Museum in Granger’s Fort Worth district has in its collection a terra cotta bust that was found at an Austrian salt mine that was among Adolf Hitler’s stolen cache, destined for the Fuhrer Museum.
Granger told The Hill that the publicity for the movie — along with support from its stars — will help the legislation. She likens her effort to the push for a Congressional Gold Medal for the Navajo code talkers, the Native Americans who used their language to transmit coded messages during World War II. Once the code talkers story became widely known, she said, it became easier to get congressional support for the gold medal awarded to them in 2000.