I think it's nice they have this.
Motion Picture Country Home
in Woodland Hills
Hollywood Cares for Elderly at Own HomeAssociated Press June 10, 2004
Tucked away on a lush 50-acre spread in a far corner of the suburbs, Hollywood cares for its own.
For over six decades, Mack Sennett, Norma Shearer, Mary Astor, Johnny Weissmuller and scores of other film-world notables have spent their late years here. So have far less famous folks from behind the scenes at Hollywood's dream factories. Some saved their money and paid their way. Others were broke, so they paid nothing.
The official name is the Motion Picture and Television Fund's Woodland Hills campus a state-of-the-art, full-service retirement facility with a $100 million annual budget. Yet for many, it will always be "The Old Actors Home."
The quaint moniker refuses to die, despite official pleadings that the property also includes a hospital and accepts all kinds of workers from the movie and TV industries, from extras to producers.
"We've tried campaigns and marketing techniques (to get rid of the name)," says Kenneth Scherer, head of the money-raising arm of the Fund, as the support organization is known in Hollywood. "It is a huge misnomer. But it's said with great affection and a sense of pride."
Some of the home's famous occupants have left behind undying legends. Longtime residents remember Astor, the femme fatale of "The Maltese Falcon," wheeling around the campus on her bicycle, nodding graciously to those she passed.
Tarzan star Weissmuller became a problem, roaming the halls late at night bellowing his famous jungle yell. He wouldn't stop, so the Fund rented him a house in Mexico and hired an attendant and doctor. Weissmuller and his wife remained there, free of charge, until his death in 1984.
The Fund had its beginnings in 1921 when the film industry's big guns, notably Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, formed a charitable organization to help co-workers caught in the ups and downs of a fickle business.
In 1940, the Fund's farsighted head character actor Jean Hersholt, after whom the special humanitarian Oscar was named found a 48-acre walnut and orange grove for sale in Woodland Hills, which is now the far reaches of the San Fernando Valley. He persuaded the board to buy it for $850 an acre. The Motion Picture Country House opened in 1942 with accommodations for 24 retired film workers. It now houses 400.
Four years later, Ronald Reagan, Shirley Temple, Robert Young and other stars of the time helped dedicate a hospital addition, with 40 private rooms and 10 surgical beds. It now has 250 acute-care beds. As its clientele changed, the home accommodated. It's Alzheimer's Unit, donated in 1992 by Kirk and Anne Douglas and named "Harry's Haven" for the actor's father, is considered a leader in care and treatment of the disease.
The late Lew Wasserman and his wife Edie were mainstays of the Fund for 40 years, both in donations and using their considerable influence to enlist new benefactors. "One day I received a phone call from Lew telling me, 'Be in my office tomorrow morning at 9,'" recalls Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of the Dreamworks company. "I had no idea what it was about. When you got one of those calls from Lew, it didn't matter what it was about; you appeared." Wasserman, the last of Hollywood's true moguls, proceeded to recruit Katzenberg to head a new Fund effort to enlist younger members.
Today, the Fund continues to help hard-up industry people with cash payments a total of $750,000 last year. Half of those living at the campus do not pay. Explains producer Walter Seltzer, a longtime Fund supporter: "We tell people, 'If you can afford it, pay your way. If not, be our guest.'" To qualify for the home, applicants must have worked in any aspect of the film or TV industries for at least 20 years. The waiting time is usually a few months, with no preference given to celebrities or those who can pay their own way, Fund officials say.
One recent day, a few retirees were gathered in the Viewing Room, a comfortable place with a big-screen TV and shelves packed with hundreds of feature films no doubt with credits including past and present residents. "I like it here," remarked Audrey Totter, 86, the blonde star of mid-century noir and action films such as "Lady in the Lake" and "Alias Nick Beal." "I keep busy with my ceramics and decoupage," she said. "The food is good. And if you don't like what you're served, you can send it back to the kitchen and get something else."
The studios regularly screen new releases in the facility's Louis B. Mayer theater, and about 20 residents are still card-carrying members of the motion picture academy and receive Oscar ballots each year. Totter, meanwhile, doesn't attend any of the screenings. "In our day we made classics," she said. "The pictures today are all about sex."
Famous residents:--Bud Abbott, Mary Alden, Gilbert M. Anderson, Johnny Arthur, Mary Astor, Chester Conklin, Ellen Corby (died in hospital), Wendell Corey (died in hospital),Maurice Costello, Dorothy Davenport, Yvonne DeCarlo (died in hospital), Billie Dove, Norman Fell (died in hospital), Max Fleischer, Harrison Ford (silent film actor), Larry Fine, Anita Garvin (died in hospital),James Gleason (died in hospital), Gareth Hughes, Richard Jaeckel (died in hospital), DeForest Kelley (died in hospital), Marion Leonard, Karen Morley (died in hospital), Hattie McDaniel (died in hospital), Mae Murray, Jean Parker (died in hospital), Virginia Pearson ,Marin Sais, Mack Sennett, Norma Shearer, Gale Sondergaard (died in hospital), Jan Sterling (died in hospital), Florence Turner, Van Wakely (died in hospital), Johnny Weissmuller (in hospital), Clara Kimball Young
Last edited by Serendipity09; 01-10-2008 at 08:12 AM.
I think it's nice they have this.
great thread, thanks for the read... nice to know they take care of each other properly.
Member since 10/10/07
I wonder if we can get a list of current residents? That would be a great place to volunteer.
I have Marcus Welby, MD on DVD and they actually did an episode using this hospital. I thought it was fictitious, but I guess it really does exist!
Drink coffee and do stupid things faster with more energy.
great great thread serendipity! thanks!
I always wondered about this place. I think it is great!
Of course, I would love to work there....I wonder who lives there now, since all the "oldies" seem to be gone now.
I've seen articles before & I thought there was a list on ther website or maybe another...I think it's wonderful too.
You don't mess with friggin Dave Coulier click here to mess
Are there any pictures of this place?
“The beauty of this campus is that all residents share a common interest in that they all worked or are widowed spouses of those who had worked in the motion picture or television industry.
The campus accommodates more than 300 residents, aged 70 and older, at all levels of care on 40 luscious acres in Woodland Hills in Southern California’s Woodland Hills.
Last edited by Serendipity09; 07-23-2009 at 01:18 AM.
Thanks for the pics! What a fabulous place.
Very cool photos, this place looks really nice.
ok so i was reading about jackie coogan,and that led to junior durkin(his best friend),and then it led to rock hudsons manager,and the point being there supposedly getting rid of the motion picture television resting home place.i think that sucks balls.im 1200 miles away and wish i could do something,they have this "tear jerker" website to help save the home.as soon as i find it(and the correct name for the home) ill post it.
Last edited by unihikid; 04-14-2009 at 08:18 PM. Reason: wrong name
They can't get rid of it. I have never been there, but I'm sure it's a nice place
Johnny Carson 1925-2005.
Why do idiots always want to destroy memories and historical places of note? The place should certainly remain!
About 2 years ago I think it was George Lucas who donated something like $75 million dollars to his alma mater film school. Putz. Like the world needs more directors turning out shit when some place like the Motion Picture home could REALLY use the money. Fucking John Ford didn go to film school...
So many famous people have spent their last days here.
LOS ANGELES — The Screen Actors Guild has voted to oppose closing a motion picture home where many actors and others have spent their last years.
By a slender margin, the SAG board voted Saturday to oppose closing the Motion Picture & Television Fund's long-term care facility in Woodland Hills.
SAG has no formal say in the hospital's future but many SAG members financially support it and some actors have vigorously campaigned against what they view as the destruction of a legacy.
The motion picture fund, which runs health care centers, assisted living facilities and other services, says the hospital is losing more than $10 million a year.
Fund Chairman Frank Mancuso says the hospital will bankrupt the fund in five years unless its 84 residents are moved.
Actually if Obamas socialized health care reform plan comes to pass, this hospital would be forced to go out of business anyways. Since its a private care facility
I believe Curly Howard and Larry Fine died there, as well as Yvonne De Carlo.
I think Scott has visited there at least once.....
I hope it is saved and helped! So much history inside its 4 walls.
they won't shut it down. then all the famous people will have to be in nursing homes with "regular" folks. i don't think anyone famous would stand for it.
"To everything - turn, turn, turn...
There is a season - turn, turn, turn...
And a time for every purpose under heaven."
- The Byrds
My wife is SAG and there is a means test for admission to this hospital and some other like facilities and access to long term care.
If you can pay you must pay or use your private insurance.
If you can not pay and meet the financial threshold ( have under a certain amount of money assets or income) and meet the SAG requirements you get in.
You are a SAG member and have no one to care for you. SAG will actually step in and completely care for the person and manage their care and personal business.
It really is a wonderful facility but it doesn't come close to breaking even and is always way in the red. With the economic issues in the entertainment industry currently the money is getting tougher and tougher to come buy.
Under whatever healthcare reform gets passed private hospitals will NOT be required to close or become government run hospitals. The part that will change is the payer for the patients and that could still be private insurance or additionally whatever system the government comes up with.
The Motion Picture Home is like Masonic Nursing Homes or Catholic Nursing Homes etc. It accepts insurance from many sources and then picks up the costs for people who meet their means testing.
The Shriner Hospitals are hurting as well and they are considering closing several of them because they can't get the funding to keep them open. Currently they pick up the entire tab and they take no insurance. They are talking about changing that to accepting insurance when the patient has it to help keep things afloat access available for kids that have no insurance.
It is tough out there for everyone right now.