We've Got Hollywood Covered

MPTF: The Fish Stinks From the Armpit

It seems that the entire motion picture and television industry is hanging onto every development concerning the fate of the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) elderly and infirm residents. Our advocates have advanced our cause to the pages of this esteemed website, and in other traditional and digital media worldwide.


On Monday, thanks to these good people, SAG will hear our plight.

The clarion call has always been that it makes no sense to endorse the closure of what is the heart and soul of MPTF care. The edifice erected by Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin for the care of the industry’s most needy was being taken off the shelf much like a filet of sole that has gone past its sell-by date.

And while the proverbial fish might stink from the head (that being the heads of the MPTF Board of Directors that have been chastised ad nauseum in previous blogs), in this case the fish stinks from the armpit.

The "armpit" being the hierarchy that actually runs the day-to-day at our beloved Motion Picture Home. Marching to the drumbeat of a newly invented elder care paradigm dubbed "successful aging," these stalwart purveyors of woe have sold the board of directors a bill of goods.

What could be more robust and rosy than a healthy balance sheet? What their outlook is hiding is the grim reality that is about to come to pass. In a classic game of "Hide the Salami," the board is most likely being hoodwinked by medical professionals who could have earned their medical degree at Wharton School of Business.

How else can you explain a quote where a medical administrator states, “If the long-term care facility and hospital aren’t closed immediately, we will be forced to close the independent living facilities,” adding, “And when long term care is closed, we can open up a Smoothie Bar and Coffee Shop for you."


The sound you just heard is Hippocrates rolling in his sepulcher.

But it gets worse. As we descend down from the armpit to a familiar orifice, we meet another administrator who offers the following quote to Nursing Home Magazine, in August of 2007: “We want this campus to be a place for elders to live their best lives, not a place that looks at sickness but looks at the key ingredients of successful aging.”

Unbelievable. These published admonitions would scare the bejeezus out of Chuck Norris himself, had he been old and infirm and residing at the Motion Picture Home. Chuck would have risen out of that wheelchair and delivered a signature roundhouse kick that might have taken care of our problem right there — but unfortunately it gets worse.

This dangerous take on elder care suggests a new paradigm being orchestrated
by the executive staff of the MPTF, and portends to update the famous credo of "taking care of our own" to:

“No Old Sick People."

Those words should ring in your ears like the staccato sound of hobnail boots marching to a Wagnerian anthem. Get the picture? The Motion Picture Home doesn’t want any old sick people.

How sick is that?

Consider this horrible scenario. God forbid you wake up one morning to your spouse or parent having suffered a stroke during the night. Consider the facilities up and down Ventura Blvd., in the depths of the Valley, or on the Westside or South Bay that would care for your loved one with 24-hour skilled nursing, for only a MediCal payment. I hope you never have to go through that, because what you will find will make you consider the unthinkable. I’ve seen some of these places, and I wouldn’t kennel my dog in them.

Now, go to the Motion Picture Home, where the industry has promised you a sanctuary of health care based on the credo of, "We take care of our own." You’ll thank God even if you don’t believe in him that it is there.  Because it is a haven, and it’s that way because the industry made it so. 


It’s there for us, and it should always be there for us.

And we are there for them. We are with you, Motion Picture Home. We are after all entertainers and creators of cinematic magic, our industry is the most creative on the planet. We broadcast our creativity to billions of people all over the planet. We are able to convince people to suspend belief and then transport them back or forward in time with ever convincing reality. We don’t think out of the box — we create new boxes. 


You’re telling me that we can’t support a long-term care center for the people who broke their backs building this industry? Is this what we’ve become? Do we listen to those that advocate this new paradigm of "successful aging" that is only a smokescreen for eviction of the sickest and most needy?

We throw them out, and we bring in health-care professionals who don’t check their sympathy at the door.

The high-priced underlings of the MPTF are selling the industry a bill of goods that will come back to haunt each and every one of us when we reach that esteemed time in our lives.

I for one am not going to accept it. The other families of the residents do not accept it.

Please see our website and register to become a part of this historic fight to preserve elder care in our industry.

Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's best blog award and a Southern California Journalism Award for his HollyBlogs, as well as an award for the Facebook group that helped to muscle the salvation of long-term care for the motion picture and television industry, Stellar's "vituperative blog on TheWrap" (Vanity Fair) focuses on issues related to the motion picture and entertainment industry. Stellar is founder of The Man/Kind Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to fight religious and cultural intolerance through the arts while building bridges of tolerance for all people. Stellar lives in Woodland Hills, California, with his wife of over 30 years, Nuala, and much too much Beatles memorabilia.