- Environmentalist and Democratic activist in Hollywood
- Wife of celebrity comedian Larry David
- Says SUVs “should just have the word ‘pig’ spray-painted on them.”
Born in March 1958, Laurie David is the wife of Seinfeld creator and comedian Larry David. She is also a self-described “global warming activist” and the premier Democratic organizer in Hollywood.
Formerly a talent coordinator for performers and writers in the comedy industry, David served as vice president of comedy development for a division of Fox Broadcasting. In addition, she developed sitcoms for Twentieth Century Television.
In the late 1990s David walked away from the entertainment industry in order to put her talent for publicity at the service of the environmentalist movement. After hearing a speech by the environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., David in 1999 signed on as a trustee for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where Kennedy is a senior attorney. As well, David heads the NRDC Action Forum, an ad hoc group of affluent and connected women whose aim, said David in 2003, “is to use our resources to help stop the assault from this current [Bush] administration on our environmental laws.”
Besides Kennedy, who is now one of her closest friends, another of David's environmentalist mentors is former Vice President Al Gore. David co-produced the 2006 documentary film An Inconvenient Truth that brought Gore much fame.
In conjunction with Arianna Huffington, Lawrence Bender, and Ariel Emanuel, David co-founded Americans for Fuel-Efficient Cars, a nonprofit group that calls for a reduction in U.S. dependency on foreign oil. One AFEC initiative, the Detroit Project, ran television advertisements accusing Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) owners of supporting terrorism by spending so much money on gasoline imported from the Middle East. The ads suggested that the oil-lust fostered by gas-guzzling SUVs had caused the United States to intrude into Mideast affairs and thereby create the animosity that ultimately would lead to the rise of such terrorists as Osama bin Laden. Rejected by most TV markets, these ads featured an actress in the role of a suburban mother saying, “I helped hijack an airplane. I helped blow up a nightclub. So what if it gets 11 miles to the gallon?”
Says David, “These cars [SUVs] should just have [the word] ‘pig’ spray-painted on them.” David also admits to occasionally “yelling at people on the highway” for driving cars she deems insufficiently congenial to the environment.
Even as she criticizes the SUV purchases of American consumers, David defends her own right to acquire the high-priced, high-maintenance material possessions of her choice, not least her Tudor mansion in the Pacific Palisades. "My philosophy about this stuff is, it's not all-or-nothing," says David. "A lot of people have that attitude: So you drive a fuel-efficient car, what about your giant house? What about this, what about that?... I'm not looking for perfection in any of this. We're an imperfect people." David explains that her house, whose heating and cooling requires an immense amount of energy, is sometimes used “to gather hundreds of people for eco-salons” and thus is conducive to the “greater environmental good.” (She also owns a second luxury home in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.)
As author Bernard Goldberg reports in his 2005 book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, David, who dislikes traveling on commercial airlines, is commonly ferried about in private Gulfstream jets that operate on some 2,100 gallons of fuel. In a November 2006 interview with The Guardian, David said: “Yes, I take a private plane on holiday a couple of times a year, and I feel horribly guilty about it. I probably shouldn't do it. But the truth is, I'm not perfect. This is not about perfection. I don't expect anybody else to be perfect either.”
David is a devout supporter of the Democratic Party. Between October 1998 and March 2008, she made more than $240,000 in campaign contributions to such candidates and organizations as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Al Franken, Barbraba Boxer, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, Al Gore, Patty Murray, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Durbin, Hilda Solis, Rosa DeLauro, Max Cleland, John Kerry, MoveOn.org, EMILY’s List, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
In December 2003 David presided over a “Meeting to Change the Leadership in America,” convened by America Coming Together and The Media Fund to devise strategies aimed at thwarting George W. Bush’s reelection bid. In the 2004 presidential race, David enthusiastically endorsed John Kerry, calling him a “great environmentalist.”
In 2007 David received the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award, the Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Special Achievement Award. In 2006 David’s anti-global warming efforts earned her the NRDC’s Forces for Nature Award as well as recognition as one of Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year.” In 2003 David was honored by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Riverkeeper organization. That same year, the Los Angeles Children's Nature Institute lauded her commitment to the environmental education of young children.
Laurie David is a friend of Arianna Huffington and a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post.