Who is Clark Rockefeller? — The Real Story

Posted on March 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Lifetime’s new movie, “Who is Clark Rockefeller?” is based on the real-life story called “the longest-running con in FBI history.” Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter (Eric McCormack of “Will and Grace”), pretended to be numerous people, ranging from a talk show host to a Pentagon adviser, before ultimately claiming to be an heir to the famous Rockefeller family. As the fictitious “Clark Rockefeller,” he married Sandra Boss (Sherry Stringfield of “E.R.”), a millionaire with a Harvard MBA and a partner at the prestigious management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and they had a daughter, Reigh (Emily Alyn Lind). They were married for 12 tumultuous years. After their divorce, Sandra was awarded custody and “Clark” abducted her. With the help of FBI agent Megan Norton (Regina Taylor), Sandra’s search for her daughter exposed her husband’s lifelong con game.
The real Gerhartsreiter was convicted in June of last year of kidnapping his daughter during a supervised custody visit, despite his attempt to plead insanity. Fox News reported that the investigation revealed in addition to the “Rockefeller” alias

he told a variety of stories: he was a physicist, a financial adviser who renegotiated debt for small countries, a collector who owned $1 billion worth of modern art, a cardiovascular surgeon from Las Vegas, a ship’s captain based in Chile and a member of the Trilateral Commission, a group established to foster cooperation among the United States, Europe and Japan.

Boss, a Harvard-educated management consulting firm executive, testified that she believed her husband’s stories for much of their 12-year marriage. It was only when she hired a private investigator during their 2007 divorce that she realized he “was not the person he’d said he was,” she said.

For more information on the “Clark Rockefeller” con, read the Vanity Fair profile by Mark Seal.

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Television The Real Story

Temple Grandin on Thinking in Pictures

Posted on February 27, 2010 at 11:02 am

Temple Grandin, the subject of the new movie starring Claire Danes, was diagnosed with autism as a child. In this talk at TED, she talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

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Behind the Scenes The Real Story
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Temple Grandin

Posted on February 7, 2010 at 8:02 am

Claire Danes plays Dr. Temple Grandin in an outstanding new HBO film about the pioneering animal scientist whose autism is a central element of her ability to understand animals and to think visually. Her astonishing and inspiring story first came to public attention in an article by neurologist Oliver Sacks called An Anthropologist On Mars. The title comes from Dr. Grandin’s own description of her sense of bafflement in trying to understand human behavior and communication.

But her understanding of animal behavior transformed the operations of cattle facilities. The movie makes clear that Dr. Grandin faced prejudice not just as an autistic person but as a woman. But her ideas were so compelling that she has become a world-respected authority. And she has been a guide to autism as well, writing and speaking about her experiences as a way of helping neuro-typicals understand those who literally see the world differently.

Dr. Grandin herself can be seen in this interview.

And here she talks to NPR about her squeeze machine. Her mother has also written a book about her experiences, Thorn in My Pocket.

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Biography Television The Real Story

Extraordinary Measures: The Inspirational Quilt

Posted on January 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm

“Extraordinary Measures is the real story of a man who needed a miracle for his sick children and quit his job to work full time on raising money to support the medical research that might help keep them alive. The movie stars Brendan Fraser as the father and Harrison Ford as the doctor. But the real story continues, not only in the continuing fight to help children who struggle with the life-threatening genetic disease featured in the film but in the inspiration that the story has given to others struggling with what seem like insurmountable challenges.
The makers of the film are inviting people to tell their stories on an “inspirational quilt” made from videos. They are looking for “uplifting stories that include themes of triumph over tragedy, overcoming adversity, overcoming illness/disability/injury, acts of altruism, generosity and simple heroism. The Quilt is a community expressing the power of good in the human spirit, and a platform to share and connect stories of hope and inspiration.” If you have such a story, submit a video and you can win $10,000 for the charity you support. Or, visit the site to take a look at the videos uploaded by others and vote for the one you think is most deserving of the prize.
The movie may be good — I will let you know when I see it. But the videos are engrossing, touching, and, yes, inspiring. Take a look and vote for the one you want to support.

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Behind the Scenes The Real Story
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The Real Story: the Crowleys of ‘Extraordinary Measures’

Posted on January 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm

“Extraordinary Measures” stars Brendan Fraser as John Crowley, the real-life dad who quit his job to raise money for research that could help his two children, critically ill with an incurable genetic disorder called Pompe disease. Here is a featurette with the real John and Aileen Crowley and their children.

For more information, read The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million–And Bucked the Medical Establishment–In a Quest to Save His Children and Chasing Miracles: The Crowley Family Journey of Stength, Hope, and Joy.

 

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Behind the Scenes The Real Story
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