Bethanians Capture Spotlight

Bethany College alumni were seeing “green,” with Bison pride, not envy, after viewing the Golden Globe Awards telecast from Hollywood last Sunday.

Frances McDormand, a 1979 graduate of Bethany, won the award for best actress in a motion picture, in the drama category, for her role as Mildred Hayes in the acclaimed film, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” She gave a forceful, on-point acceptance speech that hit the mark with audience members and viewers at home.

McDormand returned to the Golden Globe stage when “Three Billboards” captured the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s top prize for best motion picture-drama.

By coincidence, another Bethany alumnus, William H. Macy, also was an invited guest at the Golden Globe ceremony. Although he didn’t win a Golden Globe this time, Macy was nominated in the category of best performance by an actor in a television series-musical or comedy for his role as Frank Gallagher in the Showtime adaptation of the British television series, “Shameless.”

It wasn’t the first time that McDormand and Macy have been in the spotlight at the same awards show. Their careers intersected 20 yeara ago when they co-starred in “Fargo.” McDormand won an Academy Award as best actress for her role in that film, while Macy was nominated for his performance but didn’t nab an Oscar.

Macy, who enrolled at Bethany in 1968, attended the college a few years before McDormand arrived on campus. McDormand matriculated in 1975 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater four years later. She completed a master’s degree from Yale University’s School of Drama before launching her professional career.

McDormand is one of the few performers who have achieved the so-called Triple Crown of Acting: an Academy Award for “Fargo” (1996), a Tony Award for the Broadway play, “Good People” (2011), and an Emmy Award for the HBO miniseries, “Olive Kitteridge” (2014).

All that McDormand needs now is a Grammy Award so that she could enter the prestigious “EGOT” category for performers who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. Perhaps she could record a spoken-word album to qualify for a Grammy.

McDormand has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her work in “Mississippi Burning” (1988), “Almost Famous” (2000) and “North Country” (2005).

She also was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Stella Kowalski in the 1988 Broadway revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She returned to Broadway to star in the 2008 revival of “The Country Girl,” and received a Drama Desk Award nomination for outstanding actress in a play.

Macy has won two Emmy Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in “Fargo.”

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As a society, we often idolize movie stars and rock stars, but the true heroes are the ordinary folks — like former Steubenville resident Michael Donnelly — who sacrifice their lives to help others.

Donnelly, 38, was killed last Sunday night while acting as a good Samaritan along a highway in Dallas, Texas. Lyndsee Longoria, a Texas mother of two young children, also was struck by the vehicle. She survived and credited Donnelly’s quick action for saving her life.

According to media reports, Longoria stopped her vehicle to help the driver of a Ford Explorer that was disabled in a hit-and-run incident. Longoria said another stranger –Donnelly — stopped to assist. Donnelly and Longoria were trying to move the other motorist’s vehicle when they were struck by a car that reportedly swerved to avoid hitting the unlit, disabled SUV.

In an interview with a Dallas-Fort Worth television station, NBC 5-KXAS, Longoria said, “Someone in the midst of the accident had grabbed my shirt and pulled me. I didn’t realize it was him (Donnelly).”

Longoria, who underwent surgery for her injuries, said of the Steubenville High School graduate: “That man died a hero.”

In the TV interview, Longoria said she spoke to Donnelly’s father, Rich Donnelly of Steubenville, two days after the tragic accident. Longoria said she told the elder Donnelly: “I just wanted to tell you that your son was my hero. He is my hero. He passed saving my life. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today.”

That, gentle readers, is true heroism.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net.

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