Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien

image source: Wikipedia

The film "The Sessions" received very favorable reviews when it was released last year, which included a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Helen Hunt. Based on the true life story of Mark O'Brien (portrayed by actor John Hawkes), I am reminded of another Academy Award connection, director Jessica Yu, in a blog entry I wrote on May 4, 2012.

Ms. Yu received an Academy Award in 1997 for Best Documentary, Short Subject for her film, Breathing Lessions: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien.  As described from Wikipedia, "The documentary explored his spiritual struggle coping with his disability; he had to use an iron lung much of the time due to childhood polio."

image source: Lemonade Factory Press

A poet and journalist, Mr. O'Brien attended UC Berkeley in his iron lung, co-founded a small publishing house, Lemonade Factory Press, and was an advocate for the disabled. Despite his disability, he lived a very fulfilling life. Something many able-bodied people have yet to accomplish.

Mark O'Brien died in 1999 at the age of 49.

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