The Roddy McDowall
Memorial Rose Garden

Roddy McDowall was a generous man that loved to share his home and garden with his friends and loved ones.  The Roddy McDowall Memorial Rose Garden at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills is meant to be the embodiment of him, his garden and the elements within that made it so special.  The prominent feature in his garden were his roses.

The Roddy McDowall Rose Garden

Roddy's Rose Garden at the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) in Woodland Hills, California

(The MPTF created and owns the rose garden image; special thanks to webmaster Joey Leslie for allowing us to display it here)

Take a virtual tour of the rose garden at MPTF website

The long-awaited expansion of the Motion Picture & Television Fund's (MPTF) Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills was underway on September 28, 1999 with a groundbreaking for the $21 million Fran and Ray Stark Villa, an assisted living facility.  The Stark Villa will be linked to MPTF's existing campus through an extension of its elegant landscape.  Adjacent to the Villa, the Roddy McDowall Rose Garden will be installed.  The garden is a memorial tribute from "Roddy's Girls," a group of more than 75 close female friends of the actor, who passed away last year.

Wednesday July 25 2001 1:57 AM ET
By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist

Guy McElwaine and CAA's Scott Landis are chairing an effort to raise $500,000 for the Roddy McDowall Memorial Rose Garden at the Motion Picture & TV Fund Country House and Hospital.

McElwaine and Landis were longtime friends of Roddy's -- and Guy was his press agent, later his agent, as was Landis.  The duo hope to raise the money in small contributions from many who have not yet been involved with the industry's own pride. The garden is to be located between the Wasserman Campus and the Fran & Ray Stark Villa, which will house 94 new MPTF residents and provide assisted living services.

McDowall's 7,000-square-foot garden will include plantings from his own rose garden, a statue of Roddy as Cornelius in "Planet of the Apes," and a fountain.

Friday October 5 2001 1:55 AM ET
By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist

The entertainment industry has always been at the forefront of helping others in need, but on Saturday the Motion Picture & Television Fund -- whose motto is "Taking Care of Our Own" -- celebrates its 80th anniversary at the MPTF's Country House & Hospital in Woodland Hills.

The occasion also celebrates the dedication of the Fran & Ray Stark Villa complex. The first resident will be producer/TV Hall of Fame'r Ethel Winant. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the Funds Foundation, has been leading the drive for $50,000 donations from industryites for the new villas. He told me 75 participants have committed and over 100 more are incoming.

About Saturday's event, Katzenberg notes, "This is an opportunity for the Hollywood community to come together in the spirit of caring that has overcome the nation."

Kirk and Michael Douglas, two generations of staunch MPTF supporters, will open the ceremonies; composer David Foster heads the musical portion of the evening, which includes participation by Polly Bergen, Tim Allen, Sydney Pollack, Sally Field, John Frankenheimer and Cloris Leachman. Many stars are expected to attend. Dedication ceremonies are scheduled for the Roddy McDowall Rose Garden, the Katzenberg Activity Center and the Edie & Lew Wasserman Koi Pond dedicated to the memory of Jean Hersholt. Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg host the evening along with Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

A Wonderful Evening, That Almost Wasn't
Our very own Roxanne Mills attends the rose garden dedication

Tuesday October 9 2001 1:14 AM ET
Stars celebrate at retirement haven
By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Saturday night, as the U.S. was making final plans for our first attack against terrorism, close to 1,000 industry workers and supporters were singing "God Bless America."

The singing marked the close of an emotional day/night celebration of the Motion Picture & Television Fund's 80th Anniversary Commemoration at the Woodland Hills Country House & Hospital's grounds. The remarkable celebration at the retirement complex also noted the dedication of the Roddy McDowall Rose Garden (by Elizabeth Taylor), the dedication by Edie and Lew Wasserman of the Koi pond on the Wasserman campus, the dedication of the Jeffrey Katzenberg Activity Center and the completion of the Fran & Ray Stark villas.

The latter, a remarkable three-story facility, was "completed on time and budget," noted Ray Kurtzman; Ethel Winant is to be the first resident.

Not only did the guests marvel at the facilities, they then were treated to a spectacular show in a theater/stage setting created on the grounds for the evening (by Silver Birches). Marijane Miller produced the evening, Richard Hay Alexander directed; David Foster was musical director and "ringmaster" on stage as star after star appeared for the multi-toasting event (at which everybody in the audience was somebody -- and from every generation).

The day's take, plus future commitments to sponsor spacious living quarters in the Stark villas (Variety among them), totaled $4 million. It will also start an endowment fund for the facility's charity care, which cost $1.2 million-$2 million a year, reports Ken Scherer, CEO of the MPTF Foundation.

The show began with Foster batoning a quartet that sounded like a symphony orchestra; Nita Whitaker and 50 youngsters from the Adderley School of Performing Arts sang "The Power of the Dream," appropriate for the dream of Jean Hersholt and those (shown on historic film) who launched the campus 80 years ago. This same combination finale'd with "God Bless America," with the entire audience standing to join in.

Kirk and Michael Douglas, in light/serious repartee, brought in John Frankenheimer, then Cloris Leachman to tribute Winant, who although wheelchaired, stood in the audience to express her thanks. Thora Birch and David Arquette brought on Kevin Spacey, via tape from location, to tell the need for continuing support. Polly Bergen got a standing ovation for her appropriate rendition of "I'm Still Here." Lauren Frost sang "There's No Business Like Show Business"; many chimed in with her stirring rendition.

Speakers included Ron Meyer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ray Kurtzman and Janet Leigh. Suzanne Pleshette, after serious remarks about the contributions of Edie & Lew Wasserman, segued into her hysterically funny remarks about Lew W.'s Koi pond and the "slut" Koi he had shipped out to the facility when she'd overpopulated the Wassermans' Beverly Hills pond.

In his turn, Tim Allen took the opportunity to equally (humorously) skewer DreamWorks chief Jeff Katzenberg. Haley Joel Osment and Thomas Gibson teamed to tell the MPTF's fundraising activities. Scott Sassa, Sally Field and Sydney Pollack (on film) gave tributes to Ray Stark and to the completion of the Stark villas. Ray who celebrated his 86th birthday Oct. 3, wasn't feeling up to attending the cold night. Daughter Wendy, who was there, will show Ray a tape of the memorable event and bring him out there next week.

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