Kirk Douglas gave millions for Hollywood’s Alzheimer’s patients

Beloved actor Kirk Douglas was identified for his iconic roles on the massive monitor, but powering the scenes he performed a important part in supporting a person of Hollywood’s oldest charities: the Motion Photo & Television Fund.

Douglas and his wife Anne were amid the biggest unique contributors to MPTF in its history, providing additional than $forty million to the nonprofit group charged with delivering healthcare and other products and services to leisure sector staff, explained Bob Beitcher, the fund’s president and CEO.

In 2015, the few gave $15 million to establish the Kirk and Anne Douglas Treatment Pavilion, a fifty-mattress memory-treatment unit that will open in the in close proximity to foreseeable future. They earlier donated $twenty million for general reasons and $two million for Harry’s Haven, a residential home for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia that was produced in 1992.

Kirk Douglas named Harry’s Haven following his father Harry Demsky, mainly because he had named his production firm following his mom and felt “that he needed to equilibrium the scales,” Beitcher explained.

In accordance to Beitcher, Douglas’ link to Alzheimer’s sickness dates back again to the time he and Anne were dwelling in New York City. One particular of their neighbors was Abe Ribicoff, former governor of Connecticut and a former U.S. senator. Ribicoff was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his wife refused to put him in an institution, fearing the treatment he could possibly get there and who he would be dwelling with.

Douglas witnessed the toll the sickness took on the Ribicoffs and made the decision he wished to create an Alzheimer’s unit that was a “wonderful, caring, compassionate position the place the man or woman stricken could reside, but also the place a loved ones member would truly feel at ease leaving their loved ones member to reside,” Beitcher explained. “It was as a lot for the caregiver as the resident.”

In 2015, when the fund announced ideas for the new pavilion, Douglas explained: “We wished readers as perfectly as people to working experience a heat and loving setting, and MPTF has fulfilled our needs admirably.”

Quibi Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the MPTF Foundation’s board of governors, explained Douglas as his mentor. “Kirk Douglas was a correct hero of mine,” he explained in a statement. “From motion picture star to motion picture mogul to philanthropist, I never stopped getting influenced by him and discovering from him. He was a person of the best … at any time!”

Past 12 months, MPTF created a larger facility for Alzheimer’s people with the addition of ten beds for a total of forty residents. The space is brighter and the hallways are larger. Beitcher and some others visited the Dementia Village in Hogeweyk, Netherlands, and borrowed some of the things. There are five do the job stations that mimic life situations for residents like a laundry, office environment and grocery store.

“We tried to do our urban model of Hogeweyk,” Beitcher explained. Douglas donated signed vintage motion picture posters of his that line the partitions. “Kirk was often so astounding to us, he understood profoundly the hardships of people working in this sector have and he often wished to make sure to give back again to individuals in need. He felt this deep in his bones.”

Right up until he turned also weakened to pay a visit to a couple years ago, Douglas, who died Wednesday at age 103, made use of to come to MPTF and pay a visit to Harry’s Haven when or twice a 12 months. “He’d stroll or wheel via Harry’s Haven and examine almost everything and choose remarks,” he explained.

Beitcher recalled a pay a visit to the place a person of the residents with superior Alzheimer’s trash-talked Kirk. “He had no filter, and I introduced him and explained this is Kirk Douglas.” The resident explained, ‘you’re not … Kirk Douglas. … you!’” Kirk just rolled with and kibitzed with the guy and took all the trash chat and moved on.”

The very last time Beitcher observed him was at an function very last 12 months at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness study Anne and Kirk’s adore letters. It was a fundraiser for the Century Theatre Team and MPTF.

Following the efficiency, “Anne pointed to Hugh and explained, ‘I need to have married you!’ It was a outstanding second for everybody. We were imagining this could possibly be a person of the very last occasions we see him.”

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