We attended the New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) MUSE Awards Luncheon at the Hilton in New York City today only to have our collective breath taken away by the extraordinary loveliness and eloquence of actor/activist/director Marsha Hunt, who received a MUSE Award this year for her courage, dedication and inspiring work on behalf of so many causes, including that of world hunger and poverty. A stunning, vital and unbotoxed beauty at 93, she is the epitome of my idea of true success, a model of integrity, the honoree that shone most boldly and brightly for me.
In her speech, Hunt called women directors to be more compassionate in their vision and to help end the "sclock and shock" trend of current filmmaking. She received a standing ovation and was virtually swamped afterwards by women of all ages in the media and entertainment business.
Hunt, who signed on with Paramount Pictures in 1934 at the age of 18, starred in more than 50 films before being stopped short by McCarthyism in the 1950s. She was among 30 well known Hollywood personalities that included Danny Kaye, John Huston and Lauren Bacall who flew to D.C. to protest Congress and were asked to denounce their activities. Hunt refused -- not in order to support Communism, but to defend her basic rights of speech and freedom. She remains a concerned activist on issues such as poverty, peace and global pollution, serves on numerous Boards, including a board of mental health center in San Fernando Valley and has been aligned with the United Nations helping communities around the world for years. Since 1980, she has been the honorary mayor of Sherman Oaks, California. Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity, a documentary about her life by Zelda Can Dance Productions has just been completed, and we also met director/producer Roger C. Memos, who flew in from Los Angeles for the NYWIFT event.
For more information about Hunt or the documentary about her life and work, see http://www.hollywoodandart.com/zeldacandance.html