Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On Life Support

I stopped in to the local family-owned pizza parlor for lunch and ran into a friend. I was just walking away from the self-serve soda fountain when I saw Stephanie coming toward me. The walkway narrows for only one person at that point, so at the same moment we both step back to allow the other to pass. I insisted, so she smiled, thanked me, and walked to the soda fountain. As she passed, I commented, “Chivalry isn’t dead, but it is on life support!”

Later that day I was reading an article about a Hollywood actor who refused to participate in sex scenes for a TV program. Now, I don’t follow TV and movie stars, so most of them are completely unknown to me unless they make it into the news – usually because of bad behavior! This actor, Neal McDonough, is someone I’ve seen a number of times, and he is very talented and apparently quite well known.

In McDonough’s twenty years of acting, he has played many roles and has been in quite a number of well known movies and TV series. Most notably, he played in such movies as, Flags of Our Fathers, Angels in the Outfield, and Star Trek: First Contact. Among his TV credits, he performed in, Band of Brothers, Quantum Leap, JAG, The X-Files, and Desperate Housewives.

McDonough has been very upfront throughout his career as an actor that sex scenes were off limits. Why? Because he is a family man and a practicing Catholic. From this I believe it is safe to assume that both the wedding vows he made to his wife, and his personal religious beliefs mean something! How refreshing! So why am I writing about this?

Well, according to a March 31 news story, Mr. McDonough was recently removed from his role on ABC’s new TV series Scoundrels. The reason given for this was a “casting change.” An innocuous explanation if ever I’ve heard one! From the report, McDonough was fired because he would not participate in a heated love scene with Virginia Madsen. He was standing by his personal convictions, and was unceremoniously dismissed for doing so. But what makes this even more reprehensible is that ABC knew about his convictions before they hired him for the role. Nor is this the first time the actor has refused to engage in sex scenes in his career. He refused to abandon his morals even on the racy TV series, Desperate Housewives. Sounds to me like someone in the industry was trying to break down McDonough’s moral convictions!

A person close to this situation has said, “It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles.”

Well I guess you could say that it has cost him! How about a cool million bucks per payday! How many people would surrender their moral convictions without even blinking if that much money was waved in front of their face?

I took the time to read some of the replies to the article, “No Sex Please, I’m Neal McDonough” on the Internet. My favorite was this one: “Character is all we have in this life. How exciting that an actor with character and a huge talent refuses to sell out his principles. He is definitely not alone. The press just hardly ever highlights the good guys.”

There are some who will read this article and laugh at McDonough for being so prudish. But I’ll bet he sleeps well at night – with his wife. And he’ll always be able to look his three little children in the face knowing he has given them an invaluable gift. What gift is that? He has demonstrated his love for their mother by not defiling the marriage bed.

Maybe chivalry is making a comeback – and from all places, a star out of Hollywood. Now that would be a miracle!

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