Tuesday, August 9, 2011


(Source: Charlize Theron)

This post was initially supposed to be all about Charlize Theron's "thank you" to the fans for supporting her charity, Charlize Theron African Outreach Project as a celebration for her birthday. I was going to talk about putting my money where my mouth is in the respect that if I can tweet and ask fans to donate, I will do it myself which I did.  I've done it before for KstewForKids and other celebrity charities as well.  I was going to say how wonderful it was for Kristen's Keds to receive such an awesome bid. But that was before I read the blog for 'Twilight' actor, Guri Weinberg and things changed. 

It took me three tries to get through his post because memories came back.  It took me 20 minutes to gather myself to stop crying so I could begin to type. To share my thoughts. 

This is a fansite about 'Snow White and the Huntsman' but sometimes real life will intercede because actors are people too and live real lives outside of the artificially mundane world of Hollywood.  They eat, get ill and their hearts ache over the loss of loved ones just like us. They're human and we should never forget it.

What Charlize does with her charity is real life...reality. People are dying daily of HIV/AIDS. Kristen bringing attention to young girls being trafficked everyday and sold to someone as a slave or worse.  But what Guri Weinberg wrote today not only was real but it brought back a disturbing memory of my childhood. Memories of heart-breaking realism that one never expects to be slapped in the face with...the naiveté of a child.

I recently met Guri Weinberg at the Twilight Convention a week ago.  A wonderfully nice and delightful gentleman and from a female's perspective, he has the most intoxicating amazingly gorgeous eyes.  Alright, he's just gorgeous.

Guri will be playing 'Stefan the Romanian Vampire' in the upcoming movie 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn'.  For non-fans of 'Twilight' he will be playing "Dracula 1" as 'Jacob' calls him and it is a great character, a real old school traditional vampire and one of my favorite characters.  Love the Romanian vamps. 

In the autograph line, Guri was talking to a fan describing his character he played in the Steven Spielberg movie "Munich". A movie I cannot bring myself to watch.  He played his father, Moshe Weinberg, who was killed during the 1972 Olympic hostage crisis.  As I stood there waiting my turn, my heart stopped and I froze for a second.  I saw the man with the mask.  I immediately snapped out of it and smiled and politely asked Guri to sign my copy of 'Breaking Dawn' and autograph a photo of himself.  I thanked him and moved along (because they really keep the line moving).  All I was thinking was "OMG, I remember that - I REMEMBER THAT WHEN IT HAPPENED!".  OMG, he's the actor I heard about."  


I love history.  I was born and raised in one of the most historical cities in the world, Philadelphia.  The city where this country was founded.  I can go on vacation and visit museums and think nothing of it.  My mother and I always take the historical tours on vacation.  If it isn't visiting the Holocaust museum in Houston where for the first time I saw an actual copy of  'Mein Kampf' and the prison garments the Jewish citizens were made to wear or in Atlanta, visiting the places where Dr. Martin Luther King walked and worked on the bus boycott or even visiting a place where the Revolutionary War was fought seeing the cannonball holes in the walls of a colonial home.  Just by seeing the actual artifacts makes things come to life and not be so abstract.

But Guri was leaving that day.  All I wanted to do was talk with him. Does he realize what I saw as a little girl? I saw it. All of it on TV when it happened. I may not remember every detail but one thing I cannot shake is the guy on the balcony. I just met a son of one of the men I was affraid for; one of the men on TV we couldn't see. One of the men being held by the man in the mask.  His father was one of them.  

I used to have nightmares about what I saw on TV.  I never told my mom but even until today I'm bothered by what I saw.  It's that guy in the mask.  He scares me because I just did not understand at the time why someone would want to hurt an athlete.  It was the Olympics, isn't it supposed to be safe? All they do is bounce a ball or run.  What did they do to deserve this? The naiveté of a child.


We are sports nuts in my family. We bleed Eagle green; 'The Broad Street Bullies' (I'm old school) that would be Flyers orange and black; the Phillies red and white; the Sixers red, white and blue etc... My father didn't need boys because he can talk about any sport to his girls.

My sisters and I played sports and were successful at them.  My eldest sister was one of the best high school track athletes in the country.  She was beaten by 1 second to be the 2nd best Girl High School Hurdler in the country.  She was beaten by a girl that ran in the next Olympic Games after graduating.  My sister did run in the Jr. Olympic games as a junior and brought home medals.  I was always upset with her that she never pursued running in "the" Olympics.  The girl was awesome but I love her and support whatever decision she made.  My younger sister participated in the local Special Olympics.  She won medals too!  Hmm, am I the only sibling who's never participated in any type of Olympic games? That's ok, I've done other athletic things and I have to say, "life has been good".

So you can imagine that the Olympic Games was a huge deal in my house and still is a huge deal.  Winter and summer including the trials, we're right in front of the TV every 4 years.  NBC having the contract was awesome because Universal had so many television stations, you never missed an event.  Just Olympic heaven.

My friend who is a news anchor here in Philly covered the Olympic Games in Japan and brought me back authentic chopsticks.  They're beautiful and no one will ever eat with them.  But that's as close as I've ever been to the actual games...a pair of chopsticks.  

The Olympics...

The games are special to me and have always been.  I grew up watching them as far back as I can remember.  Today, I can call my mother and talk on the phone for hours watching only the trials giving our analysis as to what is going on loving every second of it.  Sometimes my Dad is there and she'll put on the speakerphone and we'll just talk forever watching television over the phone.  It's an experience I will always cherish. 

The Olympics...

I was a really young girl when the 1972 Olympic Games were held.  I remember just being excited to see these people dressed in red, white and blue.  These were the people I was supposed to root for because they represented the United States of America.

I remember Jim McKay.  There was no sporting events back then that if it was special, Jim McKay of ABC Sports was the announcer.  He had a great voice.  Mr. "Wide World of Sports" -  Mr. "Agony of Defeat".  If you don't know what that means, Google it.  Mr. McKay was the best of the best!  There were no Olympic Games unless you heard his voice.

The Olympics...

I don't remember the parade of athletes unless I see film to refresh my recollection but I remember eating Cracker Jacks and sitting in front of the television watching them with my family.  That's how we did it back in the day, the family gathered around the television and watched TV together.

So the Olympics began.  America was going to be a force in track and field, basketball and swimming.  America had a swimmer named Mark Spitz.  I remember his mustache and dark hair.  It was said that he was supposed to win a lot of medals.  He was good. He won 7 gold medals and his record has since been broken. 

There was a Russian a.k.a Soviet Union gymnast named Olga Korbut. In 1972, when anyone said the word "Russian" automatically made them an enemy.  Americans weren't supposed to like her but I did. It was something called the "Cold War" going on but I was a kid and really didn't understand it. I always wanted to know why...why didn't we like these people.  It made no sense.  People are people.  Everyone should like everyone except when they're competing in the Olympics.  She was incredible and a bit arrogant as I remember. But she had every right to be.  I remember seeing her do things with her body that, as a little girl, I thought was magical.  She was a machine. She won 3 gold medals.

Then there was America's game, basketball.  This year was the most controversial game ever played in the history of the Olympics.  The Sixers current coach, Doug Collins, played in this game and sank the game winning free throws with time expired - or so he thought until the refs added more time on the clock and the Russians hit a shot and won the game.  The Americans refused to take the Silver medal.  

So the Olympics were played with exciting performances and controversy.  But there was still a baby somewhere who lost a father at these games as well as other children.  It was an incident that nearly cancelled the games and some would think that they should have been after what happened.  


I remember this guy.  This photo frightens me to this day. I remember that the Olympics began then suddenly they were showing men walking around on a balcony in masks.  Being a young girl, you really do not understand these things.  He just looked like a really scary man on TV who Jim McKay kept talking about which made me angry because ABC wasn't showing the games. I did not understand what was going on. The naiveté of a child.

I remember my mom and dad trying to explain what they were doing.  As a child, all you want to know is why. Why did they do it?  What did these athletes do to deserve this?  They're only athletes for goodness sakes.   As a child I didn't understand why someone could be so mean.  They were just bad men to me. People who my dad would tell me to run across the street from. Dad was a police officer back then. He knew a bad man when he saw one and this daddy's little girl was going to listen to him. Bad men. Scary men. Why did they do this?
I remember Jim McKay not smiling.  Not being happy day after day.  He was always jovial.  Happy when doing sports.  He's Jim McKay!  Mr. ABC Sports.  The Man!  But he was upset.  Not happy.  He looked scared too.  I can see it like it was yesterday.  I remember the look on his face talking about these men wearing masks.
I remember my mother yelling her famous "Oh Lord!".  That's my mother's way of saying something happened, good or bad.  This one was the bad one.  Then there was a bit of chaos in the house.  I asked what happened and my mom said "They killed them!" 
All I can remember is Jim McKay being upset, really upset.  He used words like "hostage" and "terrorist".   There were dead hostages.  What I know now and did not know back then, one of them was Guri's dad.   
I couldn't sleep at night seeing the dead men. I was only a little girl wanting to just see the games and these bad men were on TV doing bad things with guns.
They were gone...all of them.  There were 11 athletes in total taken hostgage and they were gone and one of them was Guri's dad.
Guri wrote on his blog that he would never play sports.  A day in September 1972 a child lost the love of sports.  I couldn't imagine it. I live by sports. I played every kind of sport with the kids growing up in the neighborhood from stickball to kickball. I played three of them in high school and went to college and became a cheerleader and even dance professionally, I've coached. I have season football and basketball tickets. I LOVE SPORTS!!  I eat, drink and sleep sports.
But Guri grew up not wanting to be anywhere near a sport.  Never to play or become a wrestler like his dad.  He never played at all because of the man in the mask. 
Guri got to play his father in the movie 'Munich'.  He writes about it more here in his blog.  I highly recommend reading it.  It's history, an unfortunate history but history just the same.  We should all learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it.  
We should all remember that Charlize, Kristen and Guri may be actors but they are human beings.  Charlize and Kristen generously help others through their charities and their charities are extremely important to helping human beings in need.  They are people who care.  People who live life and try to do good for others when others are just either doing nothing or doing evil.
Guri has dealt with evil.  Guri writes about how he has dealt with the circumstances of loosing his father and the results of it.  Instead of sports, he became an actor.  He met a lovely lady who became his soulmate and who actually helped him deal with his loss.  But the most interesting thing he wrote was about how 'Twilight fans have been there for him.  He's never had people support him like this.  But Guri has just learned that Twilight fans are generous and are supportive and they do care. Guri writes:
"That being said, to say that all the GOOD public attention was overwhelming would be an extreme understatement. I didn't expect it. I especially didn't expect the level of affection I would receive just for being a part of it all. In my world, attention has been a negative thing. Now, it's different in every way. I actually found myself getting emotional about all the recent birthday wishes, video and photo tributes I received on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you, more than you know, thank you. You've touched my heart and I will always be grateful for this chance to see public opinion focused on my work rather than Israeli politics. I will always be happy to discuss as many Twilight questions you might have…I'm actually excited to see fans' reactions to a few really spectacular surprises. I may be new to the Twilight dance but you all handed me a beer at the door…and I will never forget that."
One thing this incident has shown is that this is a small world.  A little girl innocently watching the Olympic games witnesses the loss of someone's parent in something so horrific it has stayed with her all of her life only to meet the child of that parent decades later. 
You never know who you are going to meet or how they will touch your life.  Charlize and Kristen touch others lives and Guri just learned that his fans has touch his.
Read more about Moshe Weinberg here.

Jim McKay Munich Olympic Games 


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