Screen legend Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday a few weeks early Saturday night, at an event marking the 95th anniversary of the Motion Picture and Television Fund — a group that helps sustain industry professionals in need and that he has helped sustain for decades.
The “Hollywood’s Night Under the Stars” celebration was emceed by George Clooney and featured MPTF supporters including Hugh Jackman, Bryan Cranston, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, Helen Reddy, Jeremy Renner, Sheryl Lee Ralph and more. Among its many highlight were Jackman’s revival of his performances in “Les Miserables” and a story from Cranston about how his mother found love in her final years, while living under MPTF care.
But the most monumental moment was a tribute by Michael Douglas to his father, the “Spartacus” star who turns 100 on Dec. 9. Douglas said his father, Kirk, and his wife of 62 years, Anne, have donated more than $40 million to the MPTF.
Guests at the event, held at the MPTF Woodland Hills Wasserman Campus, were treated to the rare spectacle of the elder Douglas offering one-liners about his son and the industry.
“I thank my son, Michael,” he said. “I always saw him to be a doctor or lawyer. But I forgive him. I think he’s a good actor.”
“I don’t know these people,” he joked.
The MPTF helps entertainment industry veterans — from crew members to actors to producers — who fall on hard times, develop health problems, require elder care or otherwise need help and support.
Matt Bomer read the story of an elderly gay man who was left with nothing after his partner died, and now receives money and counseling from the MPTF. Renner described how the MPTF helped the family of an actor who died of stomach cancer at just 40.
And Cranston talked about the time he received a call from an MPTF representative to let him know that his elderly mother had a new boyfriend. She was staying at Harry’s Haven, an Alzheimer’s care unit opened by Kirk and Anne Douglas in 1992.
“She said, ‘If you have any concerns or issues, please, I’d be happy to help you with those at this time,’” Cranston recalled. “And I said, ‘I have one very big concern.’ She said ‘What can I do to help?’ I said, ‘What if she gets pregnant?’”
“We laughed. But behind the laughter was a grateful son,” Cranston said. “Because in the last few years of my mother’s life she was able to find companionship and love, and she received the best care I could have hoped for from this facility, and from Harry’s Haven.”
People who need help from the MPTF can click here or call 323-634-3888.