Patricia Neal: RIP
Part One of Three
By Dave Andrusko
Part Two of TN&V today
celebrates the graduation of NRLC 4th Academy class.
Part Three talks about a
revealing interview abortionist LeRoy Carhart gave. Over at
National Right to Life News Today (www.nationalrighttolifenews.org),
we update "The Politics of Stem Cells" and a sad story out of
the Netherlands. Please send all of your comments to
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By now probably most of
you know that Oscar Award winning actress Patricia Neal died
yesterday reportedly of lung cancer. I am old enough to remember
many of her films, some of which are genuine classics. My own
favorites occupy the two ends of the spectrum: The Day the Earth
Stayed Still, and Hud, the film for which she won her Oscar.
Ms. Neal's death at age 84 is
of particular relevance to us because of the abortion she had as
a young actress. In a life filled with tragedies--including a
child who suffered major brain injuries, another child who died
from measles, and three devastating strokes--she never forgot
following is from introductory remarks made by Monsignor Jim
Lisante at the 2003 Proudly Pro-Life Awards Dinner. I remember
them like they took place yesterday.
I met Patricia Neal over
20 years ago, and we have become good friends ever since. One
time when she was on my television show, I said to her, "Pat, in
so many ways you are a female Job." She had, as you know,
several strokes which put her in a coma for a month. She had a
daughter who died of the measles at the age of seven. She had a
son who was hit when he was an infant by a car in New York City,
and he remains alive but brain-damaged and will be forever.
Another daughter who suffered from drug and alcohol addiction; a
husband who was great to her once she had the strokes, but he
ultimately left her for a younger woman.
And I said, "In your life,
Pat, if there was one thing you could change, what would it be?"
And Patricia Neal said, "Father, none of the things you just
mentioned." But she said, "Forty years ago I became involved
with the actor Gary Cooper, and by him I became pregnant. As he
was a married man and I was young in Hollywood and not wanting
to ruin my career, we chose to have the baby aborted." She said,
"Father, alone in the night for over 40 years, I have cried for
my child. And if there is one thing I wish I had the courage to
do over in my life, I wish I had the courage to have that baby."
Patricia Neal has put herself
on the line in saying to many, many women who have experienced
abortion or thought about abortion, "Don't make my mistake. Let
your baby live." What's particularly painful, but poignant in
this story is that some years later, Patricia became good
friends with Maria Cooper, the only child of Gary Cooper and his
wife. And Maria Cooper said, "You know, I know you had the
affair with my father and I have long ago forgiven that. But one
thing I find it hard to accept is that as an only child, I so
wish that you'd had my brother or my sister. Because in so many
ways, I wish so much that you had chosen life."