Nursing home for old stars of Hollywood faces final cut
Published 20/03/2010 | 05:00
A Hollywood nursing home where former stars and movie workers spent their final years has become embroiled in a legal battle over plans to close it down.
The Motion Picture Country House was set up with donations from stars to look after elderly actors and unsung industry heroes.
Among those treated there were Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) and DeForest Kelley -- Dr McCoy from 'Star Trek'. Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar, for her portrayal of "Mammy" in 'Gone With The Wind, and director Stanley Kramer, who was nominated for nine Oscars, were also residents.
But the home has hit hard times and now has an annual operating deficit of $10m (€7.4m) and the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) wants it shut.
Since last year, half its 130 patients have been moved to other nursing homes but the rest are fighting an increasingly bitter battle to stay -- led by a campaign group that protested outside the MPTF's Oscar-week fundraiser.
Current residents include Mary Stellar (92) who worked at MGM Studios and was a secretary to Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, producer of the James Bond films.
Her son Richard Stellar (54) said: "MPTF . . . is first to react to Haiti, Chile and Darfur . . . but this problem is in their own backyard." (© Daily Telegraph, London)