Michael Douglas credits the roots of his acting career to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where his step-father sent him in the summer to stop him from “chasing girls.”
“I was looking for a summer job and I reached out to my beloved step-father, William Dared, who was one of O’Neill’s original board members, who told me about this guy George White,” Douglas remembered during the organization’s Monte Cristo Awards Gala at Gotham Hall, where he toasted founder, White.
“I pulled up on my motorcycle to this run-down, but picturesque site, and there’s George.”
White was unable to attend the gala, but he sent an audio message, explaining how Douglas’ step-dad called him around “1968” to hire Douglas.
“Bill said to me, ‘Could you please, would you mind — since you have all that property to deal with? I have a stepson, who… lives in Santa Barbara, and this summer, I don’t want him bringing around that motorcycle chasing girls,’” White recalled.
Douglas and White at a benefit in New York in 2001. Getty Images
Douglas’ tribute to White came as the “Basic Instinct” star thanked the Waterford, Conn. non-profit — known for developing new talent and works for the stage — by donating $1 million.
White founded the center, which also counts Meryl Streep and Lin-Manuel Miranda as its famous alum, in 1964. Douglas said he first took a job at its Waterford campus at 21 years old as an aspiring theater major in 1966.
Douglas, who is now a board member, said he ended up working at the center for three summers, “helping to build the amphitheater and doing what ever odd jobs were needed.”
Douglas honored mentor George White during the 21st Monte Cristo Award Gala.Getty Images for Monte Cristo Aw
He described working there as “a special time,” where “I began to understand playwrights, their process and the collaborative effort to make the magic of the theater happen. These are things that I’ve carried with me through my entire career.”
He added, “That’s why I’m very pleased to announce I am committing $1 million to George and Betsy, so they can go to work supporting this wonderful place.”
The “Wall Street” star added that White and his wife, Betsy White, “have touched many lives and I consider myself lucky enough to be one of them.”
“We are grateful beyond words for Michael’s steadfast love and commitment to the O’Neill and its future,” the center’s Executive Director Tiffani Gavin added.
Source by pagesix.com