While Hollywood's elite, including Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Affleck and Mel Gibson manned a bank of telephones in Los Angeles, tens of millions of TV viewers were treated to a string of performances from chart-topping stars in LA, New York and London.
Alicia Keys kicked off proceedings with a performance of her hit Prelude to a Kiss, before Chris Martin teamed up with Beyonce to
perform her song Halo.
Bruce Springsteen followed Keys with a rendition of folk song We Shall Overcome; Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock and Keith Urban sang Lean on Me; Madonna performed Like A Prayer; Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris covered Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah and Jennifer Hudson belted out Let it Be.
Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono and the Edge united in London to perform Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) - a track Bono and Jay-Z wrote over the phone especially for the telethon.
Neil Young and Dave Matthews rounded out the night with a sombre duet of Hank Williams song Alone and Forsaken.
Other performers on the night included Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay and Taylor Swift.
Between performances, stars including Denzel Washington, Robert Pattinson, Nicole Kidman and Matt Damon shared the stories of just some of the earthquake's victims.
Speaking to MTV after the event, Clooney said, "I hope we made some money out of this. The only way to make this a success is to make a considerable amount of money."
The telethon was beamed live into 640 million homes around the globe, and all performances are available for purchase on iTunes, with proceeds going to benefit earthquake victims.
To donate, visit Hopeforhaitinow.org.
The Mission: Impossible star, who stands at 5 foot 7 inches (1.73 metres), has wooed taller women including Nicole Kidman and current partner Katie Holmes, with his Oscar-winning ex-wife famously stating the best thing about divorcing the star was being able to wear high-heeled shoes again.
But despite his diminutive stature, Cruise is still towering over the competition, sitting atop a poll to find the most fanciable short man, according to market research company www.OnePoll.com.
He beat out competition from British TV presenter Richard Hammond, who is in second place, followed by 5 foot 4 inches (1.6 metres) musician Jamie Cullum - who married super-tall model Sophie Dahl at the weekend (09Jan10).
Newly single racing car driver Lewis Hamilton, 5 foot 8 inches (1.8 metres) and Take That star Mark Owen, 5 foot 6 inches (1.7 metres) round out the top five.
Other small stars to make the grade include Scottish actor James McAvoy, Stereophonics rocker Kelly Jones, and The Full Monty star Robert Carlyle.
We've trawled through the happenings and the hits, the flops and the fuss to bring you the last 12 months in quiz form.
So, as we ring in 2010, here's your chance to test the old grey matter with 30 posers about the closing year.
Best of luck...
1. Name Kate Hudson's former baseball beau.
a. Alex Rodriguez
b. Derek Jeter
c. Manny Ramirez
2. Who won the 2009 Oscar for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role?
a. Sean Penn
b. Brad Pitt
c. Mickey Rourke
3. And who won Oscar gold in the Actress in a Supporting Role category?
a. Amy Adams
b. Penelope Cruz
c. Viola Davis
4. Name the actress who won damages from U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail after the publication called her "the most irritating actress".
a. Kate Winslet
b. Dame Judi Dench
c. Kate Hudson
5. Name the Russian who gave birth to Mel Gibson's baby in October.
a. Petra Nemcova
b. Oksana Grigorieva
c. Anna Kournikova
6. How many kids does Mel Gibson now have?
7. Which actress fasted for 12 days to highlight the plight of refugees in Darfur?
a. Angelina Jolie
b. Charlize Theron
c. Mia Farrow
8. Which great Brit recovered from a late 2008 coma to start work on his 74th film role this past summer?
a. Christopher Lee
b. Lord Attenborough
c. Sir Ian McKellen
9. Which top TV actress said, "I was named after my great-grandmother. If you look it up it's Greek, but my grandmother was apparently named after an Irish Catholic saint, who had an indiscretion with the Greek god Zeus and was kicked out."
a. Vivica A. Fox
b. Penelope Cruz
c. Calista Flockhart
10. Which movie star quit acting to become a batty rapper?
a. Hugh Grant
b. Joaquin Phoenix
c. Mark Wahlberg
11. Which Irish actor became a dad for the second time this year?
a. Colin Farrell
b. Colin Firth
c. Daniel Day-Lewis
12. She played TV chef Julia Child and Fantastic Mr. Fox's wife in two 2009 films. Name the Oscar winner.
a. Nicole Kidman
b. Julia Roberts
c. Meryl Streep
13. The castmembers of which famous TV sitcom reunited for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm?
14. Which sexy star inhabited Jennifer's Body?
a. Megan Fox
b. Eva Mendes
c. Kate Beckinsale
15. Which Charlie's Angels star died on the same day as Michael Jackson?
a. Cheryl Ladd
b. Jaclyn Smith
c. Farrah Fawcett
16. Which 2009 movie did George Clooney not appear in?
a. Fantastic Mr. Fox
b. The Men Who Stare At Goats
c. The Blind Side
17. Which funnyman had heart surgery in 2009 to replace a heart valve?
a. Robin Williams
b. Pierce Brosnan
c. Alec Baldwin
18. Which box office smash hit featured balloons, an old man and a boy scout?
c. Monsters Vs. Aliens
19. Jaime Pressly, Claire Danes, Marla Sokoloff and Anna Faris all had what in common in 2009?
a. They got married this year
b. They had a baby this year
c. They spent time in rehab
20. Which actress was unceremoniously ditched from the Twilight franchise?
a. Ashley Greene
b. Dakota Fanning
c. Rachelle Lefevre
21. And which filmmaker's daughter will replace her in Eclipse next year?
a. Bryce Dallas Howard
b. Jessica Capshaw
c. Eva Amurri
22. Which Beatle does Aaron Johnson portray in Sam Taylor-Wood's directorial debut Nowhere Boy?
a. Paul McCartney
b. Ringo Starr
c. John Lennon
23. Which British actress was left "mortified" when Esquire magazine named her the year's Sexiest Woman?
a. Kate Winslet
b. Katie Price
c. Kate Beckinsale
24. Name the director of Inglourious Basterds.
a. Steven Spielberg
b. Ron Howard
c. Quentin Tarantino
25. Which British actor played the roles of Scotty in Star Trek and an adventurous mammal in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs?
a. Hugh Laurie
b. Simon Pegg
c. Colin Firth
26. And which original Star Trek castmember was 'beamed up' for the summer sci-fi epic?
a. Leonard Nimoy
b. William Shatner
c. George Takei
27. Name the apt title of tragic movie star Patrick Swayze's memoirs.
a. The Time of My Life
b. No More Dirty Dancing
c. Next of Kin
28. Who will co-host the Oscars in March?
a. Brad Pitt and George Clooney
b. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman
c. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin
29. Which former heavyweight boxing champion played himself in hit comedy The Hangover?
a. Muhammad Ali
b. Mike Tyson
c. Lennox Lewis
30. And, here's a real toughie to finish on... Name Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick's surrogate, who carried and gave birth to the couple's twins.
a. Kim Cattrall
b. Katherine Ross
c. Michelle Ross
The Oscar-winner takes the male lead alongside a stellar female line-up including Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Dame Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Penelope Cruz.
But he was adamant he didn't want the role and insisted he would not be able to sing well enough - until director Rob Marshall coerced him into signing up.
He says, "A friend of mine, when I told him I was doing this, said: 'My God, you're in danger of becoming prolific!' Yeah, I hadn't intended to go back to work. I really hadn't. It wasn't a good moment, just from the family point of view. Rebecca, my wife, had just made a film in Connecticut and we decamped there for a few months and homeschooled the boys. We just thought we couldn't do it again. It really wasn't the right moment to go back to work.
"He (Marshall) probably knew that I'd come up with every excuse I could not to do it - including giving him a list of names of actors that I thought would be far better than me! The truth is that Rob could charm the birds out of the trees. It was a lost cause trying to put up a struggle.
"He managed to convince all of us that over a period of time he could turn a squeak into a roar. I don't know how he did that. I told him straight out I couldn't sing. He said: 'You can.' I said: 'No I can't.' At that point, we got someone in to play the piano and I tried to stagger through one of the songs. And I said: 'See, I can't sing.' And he said: 'No, you can.' Because he knew we'd be working for eight weeks of rehearsal and he was convinced. I took it on trust, really."
Ten inspiring honourees from across the globe were celebrated for their goodwill efforts as they were brought on stage at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles to receive awards from a host of celebrities, including Greg Kinnear and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
In one of the night's most emotional moments, James Bond star Pierce Brosnan recalled his late wife Cassandra Harris, who died of ovarian cancer in 1991, while paying tribute to breast cancer survivor Andrea Ivory, who helps provide free screenings in Florida.
Eva Mendes awarded the Hero of the Year prize and a $100,000 (£62,500) grant to 21-year-old Efren Penaflorida, who founded a mobile pushcart program to distribute books to children in slums in his native Philippines.
Country sensation Carrie Underwood, R&B singer Maxwell and pop star Leona Lewis all performed at the event, which will air in the U.S. on Thanksgiving (26Nov09).
The Irish actor had stationery created under his character Guido's name and wrote beautiful messages to Saraghina, the woman played by the pop star in the movie.
She tells WENN, "I'd go into my dressing room and I'd find this little note and it would be on Guido stationery. He would write me little notes as Guido. They were very cute and very charming."
And Kate Hudson, another co-star, also has special keepsakes from Day-Lewis: "As a man in character off set, he's present and sees you. He brings you into it writing notes to you as his character... He would write, 'The number was great. Love, Guido.' And what a keepsake. I still have it."
They're not the only ones smitten by the hard-working, charming Irishman - Sophia Loren, who plays Guido's mother in the film, adds, "He's very strange and I love him a lot," while Penelope Cruz admits she was terribly nervous about first meeting Day-Lewis.
She recalls, "He is one of my favourite actors and I think he's one of the masters of actors of all time (sic). I heard a lot of stories about the way he works but I tried not to listen to those stories and see for myself.
"I arrived and I went to the stage where they were rehearsing a number and he wasn't in it. I saw a man dressed in a suit standing in the corner just watching. For two hours I didn't recognise him. It was Daniel; he was always on the set."
And Nicole Kidman admits the acting great brought an extreme calm to the set: "I remember when we shot our scenes we barely spoke. We would sit in the little room together and I felt comfortable enough to have a nap in front of him. We were silent around each other."
The Oscar winner admits the process makes her so uncomfortable she rarely watches her own movies.
But she will make an exception for the new musical because she was wowed by co-star Daniel Day-Lewis and the film's stellar line-up of femme fatales: Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson, Dame Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and Black Eyed Peas star Fergie.
Kidman says, "I haven't seen the movie yet. It's hard to see (clips of) it. I don't really see the movies (I'm in) a lot of times. I'll see this movie though, because there are so many people in it. They say it's a really good movie... it's a really great cast."
The two Oscar winners teamed up for the first time for upcoming movie musical Nine and Kidman admits she was amazed by her co-star's commitment to the film, his marriage and his kids - all at the same time.
She says, "I was able to see an actor still love and honour what he does, and I think that's really important for me to see that again - to see the art form honoured and see him commit to it the way he does.
"That was great to be around because I can get called to my family and completely ignore my art and I think when I get older, I think I'll go, 'Gosh, I wish I'd given a little bit more to some of my work...' because I can just let that go now, to the point of never doing it again.
"I see Daniel and I go, 'Ah, it's beautiful how he balances it,' because he's a wonderful father and husband and also an extraordinary actor. He's got it all."
Cruz appears alongside a stellar line-up of femme fatales, including Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Dame Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and Black Eyed Peas star Fergie, in the upcoming film, and she insists the women must have driven the actor insane with their non-stop chatter.
She says, "You have to be a very patient actor because there was no silence (on the set). All of the women, we were talking non-stop. There was always something to talk about (and) we were always together."
The actress appears alongside a stellar line-up including Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and Dame Judi Dench in the upcoming film.
But it was Day-Lewis who made Loren nervous - because she felt overshadowed by his acting ability.
She says, "Daniel is incredible. He is hypnotic, magical, beautiful and brilliant; but he is also very scary. Every time I did a scene with him he was so deep and so real that it was almost intimidating."