Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital

The Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital is a retirement community, with individual cottages, and a fully licensed, acute-care hospital, located at 23388 Mulholland Drive in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, in the U.S. state of California. It is a service of the Motion Picture & Television Fund ("MPTF"), and provides services for members of the motion picture and television industry.

Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital
LocationWoodland Hills, California, United States
Hospital typeRetirement community
ListsHospitals in California


During the 1930s the untimely death of several former Hollywood stars, now destitute, shook the community. These included Roscoe Arbuckle, John Bowers, Karl Dane, Florence Lawrence, Marie Prevost and Lou Tellegen.[1]

In 1940, Jean Hersholt, then-president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund, found 48 acres (19 ha) of walnut and orange groves in the southwest end of the San Fernando Valley which were selling for US$850 an acre ($0.21/m²) ($40,800). The fund's board purchased the parcel that same year to build the Motion Picture Country House. To offset the costs for the first buildings, which were designed by architect William Pereira, 7 acres (2.8 ha) were sold. Mary Pickford and Jean Hersholt broke the first ground. The dedication was on September 27, 1942.

The Motion Picture Hospital was dedicated on the grounds of the Country House in 1948. In attendance were Buddy Rogers and Loretta Young, among other stars.[2] Services were later extended to those working in the television industry as well, and the name was altered to reflect the change.


Scores of movie notables spent their last years here, so have far less famous people from behind the scenes of the industry. Those with money paid their own way, while others, who had no money, paid nothing. Fees are based solely on the "ability to pay."

Individuals in movies, TV, and other aspects of the industry, are accepted, such as actors, artists, backlot men, cameramen, directors, extras, producers, and security guards. To qualify for a cottage, applicants (or their spouses) must have reached a minimum age of seventy, and must have worked steadily for at least twenty years in entertainment industry production. The waiting time is usually a few months, with no preference given to celebrities or those who can pay their own way, officials of the fund have said.

The facility has an annual budget of $120 million.[3]

In 1993, the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation was established with Jeffrey Katzenberg as Founding Chairman. The Foundation continues to exist as the conduit to marshal the vision of its donors and their philanthropy to the growing human needs of the entertainment community it serves. The MPTF Foundation puts on annual events that help raise millions of dollars, to continue its mission to assist those entertainment industry members in need. These events include the Michael Douglas and Friends Golf Tournament, The Night Before and The Evening Before.

In 1998, the Woodland Hills campus was renamed The Wasserman Campus of the Motion Picture & Television Fund in honor of the long-time commitment and support of Mr. and Mrs. Lew Wasserman.

In February 2000, William Haug resigned as MPTF CEO. The position was filled by Dr. David Tillman on May 16, 2000.[4] who was one of the highest paid CEOs of a health care center, with a current annual salary which includes perks and bonuses of approximately $750,000.

In 2006, the groundbreaking for the Saban Center for Health and Wellness featuring the Jodie Foster Aquatic Pavilion was held on The Wasserman Campus. The center was named after donors Haim Saban and his wife Dr. Cheryl Saban.[5] It opened its doors on July 18, 2007 and features aquatic and land-based therapies as well as MPTF's Center on Aging.

Besides offering temporary financial assistance and operating the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, MPTF's services operate six outpatient health centers throughout the greater Los Angeles area as well as the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children's Center.

In October 2008, MPTF's Corporate Board of Directors voted unanimously to close its acute-care hospital and long-term care facility by October 2009. In December 2008 the MPTF Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support the October decision of the Corporate Board. This vote was done without the knowledge of residents or families that would have been affected by the closure. As late as November 2008, after the October 2008 vote to close the acute-care hospital and long-term care facility, residents were admitted to the Long Term Care center under the impression that they would be there 'for the rest of their lives', only to learn a few months later that the LTC unit would be closing.

In 2002, director Barry Avrich produced and directed a documentary about the MPTF called Glitter Palace. The film featured an inside look at MPTF and its famous residents.

Announced closure of LTCU

On January 14, 2009, residents and families of the long term care unit (LTCU) were notified by mail of the closure and imminent re-location of elderly and disabled residents under the care of the MPTF. In a meeting held by former CEO Dr. David Tillman with concerned family members, it was revealed that the LTCU and Acute Care Center would be closing. The meeting became extremely contentious as it became known that the reasons for closure had been simmering for five years without the knowledge of residents who had been admitted to the facility under the false promise of having a 'home for the rest of their lives'. The main reason given to the families was that the LTCU was losing $10 million per year, and that this would ultimately bankrupt the fund. It was noted by actors John Schneider and David Carradine, who attended the meeting in support of the families, that the MPTF was indeed not living up to their credo of "taking care of their own" and had failed to notify the families and the entertainment industry of the closures in a proper, humane way. Foundation CEO Scherer had been profiled in 1996 as a rainmaker whose fundraising acumen was allowing the Motion Picture Home to dramatically expand its services.[6]

At the time of the announcement, 138 individuals were receiving long-term care at the facility. Jeffrey Katzenberg, current chairman of the MPTF Foundation Board, said the fund realized they had no choice but to close the facility, stating "the acute-care hospital and long-term-care facility are generating operating deficits that could bankrupt MPTF in a very few years."[3]

There were over 500 hospital admissions and approximately 100 long-term residents alone in 2008. The fund administrators projected their shortfall would only grow as a result of the deteriorating economy.[3]

Primary sources of funding for long-term care and the hospital are Medicare and Medi-Cal. The facility claims it receives approximately $20 million a year in reimbursements, though operating costs were $30 million a year.[3] The MPTF receives approximately $10,500 per patient per month from Medi-Cal. The California Healthcare Foundation found that the MPTF receives 80% of its patient funding from Medi-Cal.[7][8]

Soon thereafter, a grass-roots organization Saving the Lives of Our Own (STLOOO) was created to organize residents, family members, and supporters to fight the closure of the LTCU. A Facebook group was generated that quickly became over 3,500-strong, to also support those residents and families who were facing eviction by the MPTF. Soon thereafter, the law firm of Girardi + Keese came aboard to represent residents and family members who were guardians ad litem for their elderly family members.

In the ensuing months, the MPTF had to deal with a barrage of claims that revealed inaccuracies in claims of the fund's alleged financial peril, and the absence of any exposure of the elderly residents to transfer trauma. According to a STLOOO member, the daughter-in-law of one resident reached out to him over the Internet stating that her mother had refused to eat on the second day in her new residence. Two weeks later the woman had died following complications due to pneumonia. Claims of bullying by social service workers and more deaths that could be attributed to transfer trauma were reported to family members by other family members. Additionally, in an act that could allege intentional infliction of emotional distress, the MPTF placed a fake studio prop cop car that was painted to resemble a Los Angeles Police Department cruiser in the parking lot. That had an intimidating effect on the elderly residents who knew they were facing 'eviction' from the property. Again, Ken Scherer in an interview was quoted as saying the idea of the prop police car was 'wrong', his admission surprising families.

Articles published in the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News and online by The and Nikki Finke's Hollywood Daily continually hammered the Motion Picture and Television Fund with new-found facts, reporting of resident deaths, and other facts that flew in the face of what the MPTF was claiming.

In October 2009, when it was originally set to close down the LTCU, the MPTF renewed their operating license of the LTCU and Acute Care Unit for another year. CEO David Tillman later resigned and was replaced by ousted Panavision CEO Bob Beitcher.[9]


Through the tenacity of its advocates, the MPTF was navigated through the storm of its 2009 fiscal crisis. As of 2016 the MPTCHH is still fully operational and has plans of expansion, including a for-profit 400-unit luxury community for independent-living seniors on an 18-acre adjacent field (now growing tomatoes and basil) that would pump money back into the organization.[10] For his 99th birthday, actor Kirk Douglas endowed the MPTF with a $15 million gift to enable the creation of an 80-resident Alzheimer facility. The facility, which is to be named the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion, has not yet been officially announced.[11]

Notable residents

Died in residence (dates are birth to death).

See also


  1. Golden, Eve; King, Bob (2001), page 141. Golden Images: 41 Essays on Silent Film Stars. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0834-0
  3. By Lisa Girion and Richard Verrier: Girion, Lisa; Verrier, Richard (2009-01-15). "Movie industry hospital and nursing home to close". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  4. LA Times
  5. MPTF pdf
  6. Mikulan, Steven (October 25, 2009). "One Bed at a Time: MPTF on Home Shutdown". TheWrap. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  7. Gumbel, Andrew (2009-02-08). "Part I: MPTF residents despondent; six have died since closure announced". The Wrap. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  8. " – Your Guide to Quality Health Care in California". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  9. "Bob Beitcher Officially President and CEO of MPTF". Deadline Hollywood (Press release). July 26, 2011.
  10. "George Clooney, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the Fight for the Future of the MPTF Country House". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  11. Hammond, Pete; Hammond, Pete (11 December 2015). "Kirk Douglas Turns 99 With A Party And A $15 Million Birthday Gift". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  12. "Eddie Anderson, 71, Benny's Rochester. Gravel-Voiced Comedian Noted for 'What's That, Boss?' Line Played Valet for More Than 30 Years". The New York Times. March 1, 1977. Retrieved May 24, 2008. Eddie (Rochester) Anderson, the gravel voiced comedian who played Jack Benny's valet for more than 30 years, died yesterday at the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 71 years old and had been under treatment for a heart ailment since December. ...
  13. "Actor Emory Bass Dies at 89". Variety. March 10, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  14. "Monta Bell Dies. Ex-Film Director. Sound Movies. Was 66. Newsman and Actor". New York Times. February 5, 1958. Retrieved March 9, 2010. Monta Bell, former film writer, director and producer, died today at the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital. He would have been 67 years old ...
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. |url=|name="Fitchburg Sentinel|date=March 25, 1947"|title='Aldrich Bowker, Actor, Dies, 72; Native of Ashby'
  17. Barnes, Mike (April 29, 2011). "'Star Trek' Favorite William Campbell Dies at 84". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. "Brian Donlevy Dies Of Cancer". Bangor Daily News. Bangor, Maine. AP. April 7, 1972. p. 5. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  19. United Press International (December 4, 1983). "Fifi d'Orsay, Movie Actress. Played French Flirts in 30's". New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2013. Fifi d'Orsay, the 'French Bombshell' of 1930's motion pictures who was never able to visit France, has died at the age of 79. Miss d'Orsay was ill with cancer for several months before her death Friday at the Motion Picture and Television Country Hospital in suburban Woodland Hills.
  20. "Diana Douglas Webster, mother of Michael Douglas, dies at 92". July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  21. Franklyn Farnum, Actor, Dies; The New York Times; July 6, 1961; p. 29
  23. Nelson, Valerie J. (June 17, 2012). "Lillian Gallo, pioneering TV movie producer, dies at 84". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  24. "Hoot Gibson, Film Cowboy, Dies. Made His First Movie in 1915; Broke Into Motion Pictures as a Stunt Man. Last Role Was in 'Horse Soldiers'". New York Times. August 24, 1962. Retrieved March 9, 2010. Hoot Gibson, one of Hollywood's most famous cowboy stars, died early this morning of cancer at the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital, in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 70 years old.
  25. "Del Henderson, 79, Former Film Actor". New York Times. December 5, 1956. Retrieved March 9, 2010. Del Henderson, early motion-picture actor and director, died Sunday at the Motion Picture Country House after a heart attack, ...
  26. Edgar Kennedy, 58, Comedian in Films; The New York Times; November 10, 1948
  27. James Kirkwood, Actor, Dead at 80; The New York Times; August 25, 1963
  28. Wilson, Eric (June 8, 2012). "Nolan Miller, Designer of 'Dynasty' Looks, Dies at 79". The New York Times.
  29. Victoria Riskin. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir. Random House 2019 p320
  30. "Philip Saltzman, Producer of 'Barnaby Jones'". Los Angeles Times. August 21, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2009.
  31. Beitcher, Bob; Picture, Motion; Fund, Television. "A Retirement Community Where Hollywood Takes Care Of Its Own". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  32. "Richard Schaal dies at 86; character actor was a Second City pioneer". Los Angeles Times. November 6, 2014.
  33. Truly Shattuck – The New York Times – December 10, 1954 p. 27
  34. "Ronald Sinclair; Child Actor, Film Editor". Los Angeles Times. December 3, 1992.
  35. Marguerite Snow; New York Times; February 18, 1958; p. 27
  36. Richard Sylbert, 73, Designer Of Oscar-Winning Film Sets; The New York Times; March 30, 2002
  37. McDarrah, Timothy (March 14, 1990). "Oscar Comes Home". Milwaukee Journal (Los Angeles Daily News). Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  38. Barnes, Mike (February 1, 2015). "Than Wyenn, Prolific Character Actor, Dies at 95". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  39. Dunham, Will (May 20, 2016). "Actor Alan Young, Human Star of Horse Sitcom 'Mister Ed,' Dies at 96". Reuters. Retrieved May 20, 2016.

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