Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where Aging Actors Spend Their Final Days

Earlier this year, the Motion Picture and Television Fund announced plans to eventually close the retirement home and hospital it operates for aging actors claiming that it was losing money. However, tax returns from the organization dispute MPTF press releases claiming revenue losses, and even show increasing revenues for the MPTF organization.

Many famous actors with little in financial means were residents of the facility for senior actors run by the MPTF. 87 years ago, actors Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford helped to establish this organization to care for aging actors. Actor Gene Barry was apparently a resident of the Woodland Hills hospital at the time of his death last week.

Some famous residents have included Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Jay Silverheels, DeForest Kelley, Robert Cummings, Yvonne DeCarlo, Bud Abbott and many others. At one time in the 1950's both Abbott and Costello had serious back tax problems and were forced to sell most of their assets just to pay their IRS taxes. In later years, Abbott died in near poverty and relied on the MPTF for help.

Many aging film and television stars also often die in poverty because when Ronald Reagan was the head of the Screen Actors Guild, he signed a bad agreement with the major studios where stars that appeared in television or movies shot prior to 1960 would not receive any royalties when their works appeared on TV. Unfortunately, many like the Three Stooges had much of their popularity during the 60's when their old short films shot during the 30's, 40's and 50's were aired on TV. The Three Stooges needed to find some creative ways to generate some income since they were not receiving it from TV.

The motion pure and television industry owes a great deal of respect to it's stars. Let's all hope that organization founded to take care of these motion picture and television legends continues it's obligation to care for the actors.


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