Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 17, 2001
They used their fame to help those in need
By MSGR. JIM LISANTE
In my last column I told you about a few of the guests I had the pleasure of interviewing for our Christopher Closeup TV series. Each had a unique tale to tell.
When our producers told me that one of our guests would be the game show host Monty Hall, I was happy and intrigued. I'd always loved his wonderful, spirited work on Let's Make a Deal, but wondered just how he reflected the Christopher spirit. I didn't have to look far.
He told us the wonderful story of his maternal grandfather who left Ukraine in 1901 with virtually nothing. In fact, they were so poor that his wife and children had to be left behind for several years.
When Monty's grandfather arrived in Canada, he was surprised and delighted when someone he didn't know offered him room and board until he could get settled. That offer of charity had a profound impact on this new immigrant. It led to the development of a sense of responsibility throughout his family to help those in need.
This was a mandate Monty Hall took seriously.
Now 78 years old, Monty Hall has raised over a billion dollars for charity. More to the point, the use of his fame to assist the needy has inspired others.
Monty tells the story of a call he received from actor Steve Guttenberg. This successful young actor had reached a point where he knew that he had to give something back for all the blessings he'd received.
So he called Monty Hall and told him: "I want to get into doing more for charity and, around Hollywood, everyone agrees that you're the standard for getting involved and doing good for others. How can I get involved?"
Guttenberg now directs charities that help to restore eyesight to those who might otherwise have no hope. He also founded Guttenhouse, a home for homeless teens.
Yet another impressive guest was broadcast legend Art Linkletter. Host to three of television's most successful shows, he has always enjoyed a special insight into the human soul. His book and TV series Kids Say the Darndest Things (now under the care of comedian Bill Cosby) continues to touch and amuse.
Art addressed his belief that the family is perhaps God's greatest gift to us. He spoke lovingly of his wife Lois. Married now for 66 years, he credits her with keeping him honest, humble and strong.
He shared the remembrance of his daughter's drug-related suicide. Without God, his family, and, especially, his beloved Lois, it would have been simply too much. Art Linkletter reminded us to acknowledge and treasure our family members.
Other guests on Christopher Closeup included actress Hattie Winston, star of CBS television's Becker; actor Johnathon Schaech, who will be portraying Judas in a new ABC television film; former supermodel and successful clothing entrepreneur Kathy Ireland; actor Eric Close, star of television's Now and Again; and the wonderful veteran film and television actors Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Michael York.
I think our founder, Father James Keller, would have enjoyed meeting these talented men and women. And I believe he would be delighted that 50 years after the start of Christopher television, we still celebrate the many ways people in all walks of life continue to make a positive difference for our world.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, You're One of a Kind, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48th St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org)
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