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Jorge Adeler and Kevin Spacey in DC

Two nights ago I had the immense pleasure of meeting Kevin Spacey.  My father and I attended a lovely, intimate gathering at the Motion Picture Association of America (co-hosted with Capitol File Magazine).  This evening was not your “typical” DC outing, bursting at the seams with the movers and shaker of the Washington social set, but rather a smaller gathering of people who shared the ideals of philanthropy and wanted to honor someone who exemplifies this in his life and career.

Former Senator Dodd, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, greeted us all and made sure we each had popcorn (a change he implemented when he became Chairman…since this was previously prohibited in the theater at MPAA) and assured us that we were “in for a treat”.   We were invited to watch a 10 minute montage of Mr. Spacey’s  vast collection of works (over 50 films, at last count) and then we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Spacey.  Chris Matthews led a question/interview for the first part and then Mr. Spacey opened up to questions from the guests. 

Here are a few thing I learned about Kevin Spacey : 

  • He is from New Jersey and can curse like a sailor. 
  • He takes his time to answer questions and truly “likes” talking to people. 
  • Mr. Spacey has wanted to be an actor since he was 8 years old. 
  • He is an incredible “imitator” of voices and mannerisms.
  • And he prefers stage acting (the theater) over films.

But perhaps the best thing I learned about Kevin Spacey is that he feels an obligation to give back.  This is a lesson he learned from fellow actor Jack Lemon.

When he (Kevin) was 13 he took a workshop that Jack Lemon was holding for young actors.  Mr. Lemon made time in his busy and successful career to foster the hopes and dreams of young actors.  He encouraged Mr. Spacey by telling him he “was a natural, and that he should study acting in NY”.   AND THAT IS EXACTLY what Kevin Spacey did.

12 years later, Mr. Spacey had the honor of working as Jack Lemon’s son in a theater production, and a friendship was forged forever.  Both men shared the belief that if you have the privileged of making living at something that you love …pass along the gift.  Pay It Forward….as Mr. Spacey would say. 

Mr. Spacey’s foundation logo is a great reminder of this…it is the universal “up” elevator button because Jack Lemon said it best,  “send the elevator back down”  for others who are beginning life’s journey.  Kevin Spacey is known for going to college and high school campuses when he is promoting a movie,  to inspire and guide other kids, just as Jack Lemon did for him.  He is a man who practices what he preaches and this serves as a wonderful example to us all.

***Another amazing philanthropist we met that evening was Kweku Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson…stay tuned to how we will be working with him to inspire kids.