As you watch the Oscars this weekend, keep in mind Hollywood's Catholic roots:
- Alfred Hitchcock was born Catholic, invoked Catholic themes in many of his movies (I Confess, Vertigo, and more), and towards the end of his life had a priest come to his home every Saturday for Confession and Mass.
- John Wayne called himself a “cardiac Catholic.” He raised his children from his first marriage Catholic and, two days before his death, summoned a priest to his bedside to be baptized and received into the Catholic Church. His grandson became a Catholic priest.
- Gary Cooper befriended his Catholic wife's parish priest, whom he called "Father Tough Stuff," and converted to Catholicism, saying, “I know that what is happening is God's will. I am not afraid of the future.”
- Bob Newhart, a Chicagoan, attended Loyola University, raised his four children Catholic, put them all through Catholic schools, and is active in his parish in Beverly Hills. His faith influenced his comedic career, which included The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, The Bob Newhart Show, and Newhart, which was declared by TV Guide to have the best series finale of the twentieth century.
- The director John Ford, who won Best Director for four films, including The Grapes of Wrath, was Catholic and inserted Catholic notions of grace and redemption throughout his pictures. He received a Catholic funeral Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood.
- Bob Hope was generous not only to the United States government, giving shows to American soldiers during wartime, but also to the Catholic Church, giving large-scale gifts to various parishes and religious orders. Hope converted to Catholicism a few years before he died in 2003.
I could go on, but I'll stop there. Now, back to your viewing...