What You Need to Know about MPTF’s Amazing History

What You Need to Know about MPTF’s Amazing History

MPTF logoYou might be aware that the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) is one of the most comprehensive service organizations in the entertainment industry today, working to ensure that all members of this unique community have the necessary resources and support to endure times of need and to live and age well. But did you know that MPTF has been fulfilling this mission for nearly 100 years? Read on to learn about some of the key milestones in this inspiring organization’s (almost) century-long history.

1921—Just as they do today, many workers in the entertainment industry in the early 1900s lived a very uncertain lifestyle, often never knowing where the next paycheck would be coming from. Determined to do something to address this precariousness and to support colleagues who had fallen on hard times, a number of Hollywood luminaries—including Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith—banded together in 1921 to establish MPTF.

1939—To raise funds for MPTF, its founders launched the hugely popular radio show The Screen Guild Theater. Over the course of its 13-year run, the show featured performances from some of Hollywood’s biggest names, all of whom donated their fees to MPTF initiatives like the Motion Picture Country House, a retirement and rehabilitation facility for members of the entertainment community.

1941—Construction of the Country House began on a 48-acre property in Woodland Hills, the former site of orange and walnut groves. Attended by MPTF founder Mary Pickford and many other Hollywood names, the groundbreaking ceremony was a star-studded event.

1942—In late September, MPTF held a dedication ceremony for the Motion Picture Country House. The event, which was also presented as a radio broadcast, drew more than 3,000 members of the film community.

1948—Six years after the opening of the Motion Picture Country House, MPTF completed construction on the Motion Picture Hospital (located on the grounds of the Country House).

1964—Over the years, the entertainment community has found many innovative ways to raise funds for MPTF and its activities. In 1964, the first movie premiere benefitting MPTF was held: the film was the Academy Award-winning classic My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

Elvis Presley
Image by Thomas Hawk | Flickr

1965— Elvis Presley made the largest (at that time) individual donation to MPTF. He was also involved in a number of other campaigns in support of the organization.

1967—The Woodland Hills campus of MPTF, home to the Country House and Hospital, gained a welcome new addition: the Louis B. Mayer Memorial Theatre, which has since hosted countless film screenings and events.

1968—MPTF underwent a significant expansion, which included the opening of a new modernized hospital and the Samuel Goldwyn Plaza. A year later, MPTF dedicated the John Ford Chapel, a nondenominational place of worship that has played a central role in community life on the Woodland Hills campus.

1971—In celebration of its 50th anniversary, MPTF held a grand gala to mark the occasion. The guest of honor was none other than Princess Grace Kelly, who made a special return to Hollywood from her home in Monaco just for the event.

1980—As part of a move to build greater awareness about MPTF and the community it serves, the organization appeared on the “Heart of Hollywood” film series with Goldie Hawn and Kris Kristofferson.

1983—MPTF sponsored the first Golden Boot Awards, an annual ceremony that honored film and television artists who made important contributions to the Western genre. The awards lasted for 25 years, with the final ceremony being held in 2007.

1986—Construction began on a new refurbished hospital on the MTPF campus.

1991—MPTF celebrated its 70th anniversary with a special event attended by President Ronald Reagan (who had also attended the Country House groundbreaking ceremony exactly 50 years earlier). This same year, Peggy and Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. donated the new Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children’s Center to MPTF.

1998—With studio executive Lew Wasserman and his wife Edie in attendance, MPTF held a ceremony to formally dedicate the MPTF campus as the Wasserman Campus.

2001—The 80th anniversary celebrations of MPTF featured a gala event and a dedication ceremony for the Roddy McDowall Rose Garden.

2006—To help provide a creative outlet for the residents and volunteers on the MPTF campus, the organization launched a new television channel and production facility. Known as Channel 22, the channel is still in operation today and has created countless hours of educational and entertaining programming.

2014—This year marked the opening of the Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. Center for Behavioral Health, a special facility serving adults over the age of 55 with serious mental health issues.

2016—George Clooney hosted the MPTF’s 95th anniversary gala, which featured a huge range of memorable stories and musical performances.