Skip to comments.Patricia Neal, Hollywood Actress and Pro-Life Advocate, Dies at 84
Posted on 08/11/2010 10:34:42 AM PDT by topher
Tuesday August 10, 2010
Patricia Neal, Hollywood Actress and Pro-Life Advocate, Dies at 84
By Peter J. Smith
According to the Associated Press, a family friend said that Neal finally succumbed to her battle with lung cancer at her home on Marthas Vineyard.
The actress performed both in Hollywood and on Broadway, and starred in films such as Breakfast at Tiffanys, the science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, In Harms Way with co-star John Wayne, and many others. Neals performance in Hud would win her the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress.
Despite all this, Neals abortion of her unborn child was the greatest sorrow of her life.
For three years Neal carried on an affair with Gary Cooper, then 47 years old and married, in 1949 when she was 23. The pair, which played opposite each other in the film version of Ayn Rands The Fountainhead," discovered that Neal was pregnant.
Neal revealed in 1988 in her autobiography, As I am, that she succumbed to the pressure put on her by Cooper and believed that having a baby out of wedlock would end her time in Hollywood.
If I had only one thing to do over in my life, she wrote, I would have that baby.
Monsignor Jim Lisante, a longtime friend of Neal and Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockville Center, NY, told the 2003 National Right to Life Committees Proudly Pro-Life Awards Dinner audience that the actress told him 20 years earlier that aborting her child was the greatest tragedy in her life.
"Father, alone in the night for over 40 years, I have cried for my child, said Neal, according to Lisante. 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."
Lisante told the pro-life advocates gathered that evening that Neal would reach out many times to other women contemplating abortion saying, Don't make my mistake. Let your baby live."
Lisante also said that Maria Cooper, daughter of Gary Cooper, became friends with Neal after she ended the affair and told the actress that it took her longer to forgive Neal for aborting her baby brother or sister, than for the adulterous affair with her father.
The Catholic priest presided over Neals funeral today. Neal had converted to the Catholic faith largely through the efforts of Maria Cooper, who brought her to visit a convent, where the prioress, Sister Dolores, was a former actress herself.
Jennifer ONeill, a Hollywood actress, author, and speaker, paid tribute to Neal as a fellow pro-life advocate and post-abortive mother.
It is fantastic when celebrities use their recognition as a platform for truly life-changing issues, not just entertainment, ONeill told LifeSiteNews.com in a statement. As the spokesperson for SILENT NO MORE Awareness Campaign a voice for post-abortive healing I commiserate with Patricia and applaud her for her efforts on behalf of the unborn. God bless.
Neals message as a woman and actress who regretted her abortion, Morana said, will help others to realize that abortion is not solving womens problems. It is creating many others.
While Morana was not aware if Neal had ever gone through a post-abortion healing program, such as Rachels Vineyard, she said, Im sure right now shes at peace."
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I was unaware of her abortion in the 1940's and her support of the Pro-Life movement.
There are many movies she has made that are enjoyable to watch.
A lovely, talented, thoughtful woman.
RIP “Klatu barado nichto”
One of the biggest issues with abortion is the post abortion depression and regret. It’s nice to know that Neal did something to help others avoid this.
In a Coop biography it said that she was crazy over him. she went into a serious depression afterwards.
What a very sad personal life she had. My goodness! Rest in Peace, Patricia.
Thanks for posting this. I didn’t know about it. What a lot of tragedy she faced in her life. And, it has really changed my opinion on Gary Cooper. What a selfish jerk.
She was a great actress, also a great American, and will be missed.
Dittoes. May Patricia Neal RIP and kudos to Maria Cooper who showed a lot of grace.
I alawys thought Gary Cooper was a hero.
But now I see in reality he was not, and Patricia Neal was the REAL hero.
We should read more about the hidden heroes of the film screen who don’t fall in line with the Marxist hedonists who populate Hollywood.
..a good friend of mine was on the crew on board the ship where they filmed “In Harms Way”—he said Patricia Neal was a very nice lady—he was in sick bay at the time...
They have story yesterday in UK Daily Mail that he broke her heart
Cooper, Dahl, and Neal were people; with all the flaws and imperfections that come with it. It’s how one deals with those flaws and the acceptance of them that can make an outstanding person. For her grace, perseverance and humility, Patricia Neal was indeed an outstanding lady.
Gary Cooper had a very strong late-life conversion. (Catholic as well.)
Well then, he is a hero also.
Patricia Neal was so special. She was one of those actresses that could make brainy be sexy.