Tag Archives: Bret Michaels

When Celebrities – Like Bret Michaels – Show True Grit, the Whole World Benefits

By Stacy Jenel Smith

Bret Michaels Celebrity Apprentice NBC photo

Will Bret Michaels make the live finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” tonight – exactly one month and two days after the brain hemorrhage that could easily have killed him?  And within days of his “warning stroke” and the discovery of a hole in his heart?

If anyone can pull off such a feat, rock and reality star Michaels is a good bet.  He learned to battle through physical challenges from the time he was six and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

“When you’re five to eight years old and you find out you’re going to have to take insulin for the rest of your life, its pretty depressing. It’s heartbreaking,” he recalled in an interview a couple of years back.  “But I just looked at it and embraced it.  I said, ‘I’m still going to go out and enjoy my life. I’m still going to make music and ride motorcycles and get tattoos.’ I just gotta work a hell of a lot harder to take care of myself.”

Michaels says being able to go to a camp for diabetics as a child made all the difference in his world. “My mom was one of the counselors and later I was a counselor at a diabetic camp in Pennsylvania. I go back there every so many years to say ‘This is how I did it. This is what you gotta do.’”

He’s also actively raised funds for kids to go to such camps in various ways.  In 2005, an unorthodox campaign — with the mark of Michaels’ creativity now familiar to “Apprentice” fans — involved selling a controversial t-shirt that had a photo of him shirtless on the front and the words, “Bret Michaels Diabetic,” along with the number of injections he’d taken as of the day they shot the picture – some 253, 210.  And then the words, “Fear Nothing: Survive It.”

Michaels is displaying that same kind of courage and grit getting through his current crisis, and in so doing, he’s serving as an inspiration to millions.

When so often the media is focused on negative role models of the celebrity world, it’s worth noting that there are dozens of personalities, like Michaels, who set examples of courage and perseverance every year.  Speaking of those who’ve faced diabetes as just one example, we have the likes of Halle Berry, Mary Tyler Moore, Gary Owens and Nick Jonas, who has played his touching “A Little Bit Longer” song not only in concerts around the world, but at diabetes fund-raisers.

Michael C. Hall, Christina Applegate and Cynthia Nixon have joined the ranks of cancer survivors who advocate for early detection, along with Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Etheridge, Tom Green and a number of others.

Uterine cancer survivor Fran Drescher found that in her case, “There is a silver lining of cancer. Being a survivor has given a purpose to my life and an importance to my fame that works in astounding way I could never have imagined.”

Michael J. Fox continues the fight for a Parkinson’s Disease cure.

Basketball great turned movie theater mogul Magic Johnson has been living with HIV for 19 years now, and providing hope for long and productive lives to others dealing with the disease.

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, whose astonishing comeback from the automobile accident that cost him an arm inspires in itself, is constantly active in helping other amputees – particularly Iraq War veterans — through his Raven Drum Foundation.

The examples go on and on.

Even more than five years after his death, the late Christopher Reeve continues to inspire.

No one who was present for the 68th Annual Academy Awards – or watched at home – is likely to forget the heart-stopping sight of a lone figure in a wheelchair, revealed on an otherwise bare stage when the curtains opened.  Reeve, who’d been thrown from  a horse 10 months before and was left paralyzed from the neck down, had the audience of glamorous stars on their feet, some in tears as they applauded.   He then made a joke at his own expense and went on to deliver a compelling introduction about the power of socially-conscious films.  If you ever need a reminder of what courage and the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity look like, that 3 minute, 12 second clip will do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffSy3-PJ5QI

In his “Still Me” memoir, the cinema “Superman” recounted his rehabilitation, admitting that initially, he considered suicide because he thought his life was over.  However, he:

  • wrote two best-sellers,
  • directed two telefilms,
  • produced and starred in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,”
  • received multiple Emmy nominations for his acting and directing work,
  • traveled across the United States giving speeches,
  • established the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to speed spinal cord injury research and aid sufferers,
  • co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center,
  • was instrumental in pioneering a new form of therapy that has accounted for a number of paralyzed patients becoming able to walk again,
  • made the cover of Time,
  • won a Grammy,
  • and shattered ratings records for CW series when he guest starred on “Smallville.”

Those were all among the accomplishments by the late, great Christopher Reeve after his accident.

Cybill Shepherd Reinvents Herself Again

Show business survivor Cybill Shepherd is re-inventing herself again.  “I’m thrilled to be the character actor,”

Cybill Shepherd in "Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith"; Photo from Hallmark Movies

Cybill Shepherd in "Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith"; Photo from Hallmark Channel

declares the one-time screen siren and TV glamour girl.  “I think you can get stuck in perceptions of how people think you should look.  It’s much better to take the bigger challenge.”

She looks like a different person – with straight, pulled back dark hair – through part of the Aug. 1-debuting “Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith,” in which she plays a middle-aged homemaker who returns to college after getting dumped by her husband for a younger woman.

“A stay at home wife and mother — that certainly isn’t me,” she observes.  “This is a woman who has sacrificed a lot for her husband, giving up her own aspirations to put him through school.  She’s spent years doing for him and her children.  There’s a lot to admire.  You think that being able to be a stay at home mom is an incredible luxury, but there’s a lot of sacrifice.”

She also plays basketball – Cybill actually used to play in high school – and must contend with a rebellious coed roommate (Corri English) in the Hallmark telepic that also stars Jeffrey Nordling.

Now Cybill is waiting to find out whether she’ll be returning to the TV series world again – with the Kelsey Grammer-directed and produced “Alligator Point.”  “We should know in a couple of weeks” whether Lifetime gives a green light for the comedy, in which she plays the proprietress of a Florida oyster bar called Mae’s.  Says the “Moonlighting,” “Cybill” and “The L Word” veteran, “The script is funny and it’s an ensemble cast, which is a plus.”

This week, she’s starting work on the big screen indie, “A Christmas Movie,” in which, she reports with a smile, “Cloris Leachman and I get a chance to work together.  She hates my guts and tries to shoot me with a shotgun.”  Cybill’s playing the snooty mother of a 16-year-old pregnant girl, trying to pressure her daughter into having an abortion.  She runs away and is taken under wing by Cloris.

LOVE AND TELEVISIONBret Michaels recently got smacked in the face by an enormous set piece during a Tony Awards mishap, which left him with a fractured nose, and one of his former “Rock of Love” contestants says he might have had it coming.  “I felt horrible for him,” says blonde bombshell Megan Hauserman.  “I felt like that was really bad karma.”  Despite the little dig, Hauserman tells us she remains friends with the rocker-turned-reality-star.  “I really was heartbroken over him for a long time.  I went on there and I did fall in love with him, but we remain friends.”

Now Hauserman is back on VH1 with her own show where she puts 17 male moguls to the test as they compete for her attention on “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” premiering Aug. 2.  “It was something that I happened to say on ‘Charm School’ – that I wanted to be a trophy wife.  The next thing I knew, there were hundreds and thousands of men applying for the job.  You have to be careful what you wish for, but it could be a lot worse,” notes Hauserman, who claims fans will get to see her real self.  “It’s easier when you’re not having to fit in with a bunch of girls like on ‘Rock of Love‘ or having to compete against people in ‘I Love Money.’  You get to see my much happier side.”

However, don’t expect Hauserman to use her new TV fame to help her break into the acting world.  She says she’s done with working once she finds her millionaire.  “The whole reason I’m doing this show is that I really do want to become a trophy wife.  That is my ultimate goal.  Once that happens, I’ll probably play tennis, drink wine, sit in hot tubs, and travel – with my husband, of course.”  Ah, yes, let’s not forget him!

THE INDUSTRY EYE:  Look for “Sex and the City 2” to have a lot of foreign flavor, as the follow-up film to last year’s big screen hit moves toward production with lots of international characters being cast.  Those include an upbeat young Irish nanny named Erin “with amazing breasts” (per casting notices), several Middle Eastern characters including a celebrity and glamour lovin’ wealthy sheik, and a “very sexy” forty something Danish architect.

And speaking of Great Danes, expect the announcement soon that a noteworthy star, in all likelihood one with a big voice, has sealed a deal to play everyone’s favorite gigantic comic strip dog, Marmaduke, in the feature film being spun off the newspaper favorite.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster