The Wicklow Hospice Foundation target of €3 million has raised a tremendous boost with the news that Daniel Day-Lewis will be providing his financial and moral support to the fundraising drive. With their target almost reached the foundation have now announced that they are in the position to proceed with their construction plans for the hospice, which will be built on a beautiful site at Magheramore, overlooking the Irish Sea.
Part of the money raised for the hospice by Day-Lewis was as a result of cooperation with Steven Spielberg, who directed the Oscar-winning film “Lincoln”. Spielberg volunteered to donate a number of valuable pieces of genuine Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, that were used in the movie, These pieces were sold off at auction, with the proceeds going towards the hospice.
Cecil-Day Lewis and Jill Balcon
Half of the funds have been raised through local charitable donations alongside a contribution from the American Ireland Fund. The HSE ( the Irish health authority) will be required to cover the remaining 50% of the building cost , as well as to fund the day-to-day operation of the hospice, although at this stage there is no sign of any commitment being made to commence building, possibly due to the dramatic financial downturn that Southern Ireland has been going through for some time.
Hopefully construction will be able begin in the very near future, with pre-planning having been submitted to Wicklow County Council for some time. The land on which the hospice will be constructed has been donated by the Columban Sisters and St John of God, the health care provider, who will also take care of the operation of the facility where construction is completed by the end of 2015.
During a recent visit to the site, Daniel Day-Lewis, whose father was born in Southern Ireland and still maintains a home there, expressed his appreciation of the location chosen to build the hospice stating that it was “a place of great natural beauty and peace.”, whilst taking the opportunity to recall how his mother Jill spent her final months in grace and peace in a similar hospice in the UK.
“It was an awful time but it was transformed into a very rich time for myself and my sister because of the beautiful environment. There are many ways of measuring the evolution of a society but one of them is the way we treat the most vulnerable in a community.” Day-Lewis went on to explain.
Wicklow is currently without a hospice and people who are terminally ill must spend their final days at home or try to get a much-coveted place in a facility in Dublin, around 30 miles drive from the city. Hopefully thanks to Daniel Day-Lewis’s efforts to raise sufficient funding the good people of Wicklow who have had the bad fortune to be struck down with a terminal illness will be able to spend their final days in comfort and dignity close to their loved ones, as Jill Balcon was allowed to do.
10 Facts about Daniel Day Lewis
• In 1990 he was selected as one of the 50 most beautiful people by “People” Magazine.
• Day-Lewis, known for his dedication to the parts he plays, in 1989 insisted on remaining in a wheelchair throughout the shooting period when he played Christy Brown in “My Left Foot”.
• When he played Hamlet at the National Theatre, during one of the performances when Hamlet’s father’s ghost speaks to him, he broke down on stage claiming that he saw his own father’s ghost, and could not continue to play the role. Since then he has not appeared in live theatre.
• In choosing his roles a recurring theme for Day-Lewis has been the subject of father-son relationships, in such films as “Name of the Father”, “Gangs of New York”, “There Will Be Blood” and even his role as Hamlet.
• Day-Lewis is married to actress and director Rebecca Miller, the daughter of Arthur Miller, who directed him in “The Ballad of Jack and Rose.” They live in Ireland and have two sons.
• He once had a relationship with French actress Isabelle Adjani, which lasted six years and eventually ended after a split and reconciliation. Their son Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis was born in 1995.
• In 2013 he became the first actor ever to win 3 Oscars for Best Actor, for his role as President Lincoln in “Lincoln”.
• He has trained in carpentry and could also even make a living as a professional shoemaker.
• His appearance as “Bill the Butcher”, in “Gangs of New York”, was ranked as number 53 on the list of the 100 best performances of all time by Empire magazine.
• In 2008 he dedicated his Screen Actors Guild award to the late Heath Ledger, who was one of his favorite actors.
Daniel Day-Lewis was born and raised in the suburb of Greenwich, in the southeast of London. His mother, Jill Balcon’s family was Jewish immigrants to England from Latvia and Poland.
Daniel’s maternal grandfather, Sir Michael Balcon was the head of the legendary Ealing Film Studios in the South of England as well as being one of the most important figures in British cinema during the postwar era, while his father Cecil Day-Lewis went on to become Poet Laureate of Great Britain from 1968 until his passing in 1972.
With that kind of background it was inevitable that Daniel Day-Lewis would follow a career as an actor, initially on the stage, moving on to television and eventually film. Day-Lewis earned himself a reputation as being one of the most meticulous method actors of his generation, making it a practice to remain completely in character for as long as the film he was working on was being a shot.
As his career developed, Daniel Day-Lewis also became increasingly selective of the nature of the film that he would appear in, having only appeared in five films in the last 17 years, with a one-time taking a break of five years from the small screen.
Daniel Day-Lewis has been awarded a total of three Academy Awards all of them as Best Actor in the male category. His first was in My Left Foot in 1989, second in There Will Be Blood in 2007, and finally, at least for the time being, in Lincoln which was released in 2012. In addition to his Oscar Awards, Day-Lewis has also won two Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards as well as four BAFTA Awards for Best Actor.