Mia Farrow: a film star who fights for children

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

US actress Mia Farrow, who testified on Monday in the trial of Liberia's Charles Taylor, is a Hollywood star who has become known in latter years for her work for children's rights.

A goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), her activities in favour of children, in particular in Africa, have put her in the spotlight over the past 10 years.

Throughout all her life an impassioned Farrow, 65, with her long blond hair and pure demeanour, has fought on several fronts.

Her struggle started in her childhood when she contracted polio. Then came her prestigious career, in which she featured in more than 60 films and television series.

Then her adulthood has been marked by several difficult relationships, including marriage to US singer and actor Frank Sinatra and a 12-year partnership with Woody Allen, whom she never married.

Finally she took up the cause of children, especially those who are victims of war. Of her 15 children, 11 were adopted.

Farrow, whose real name is Maria de Lourdes Villiers-Farrow, was born on February 9, 1945 in Los Angeles, of an Australian film writer, director and actor and a mother known for playing the role of Jane in Tarzan films.

After having played in several films, in 1966 she married Sinatra. The marriage did not last as Sinatra demanded that she give up on playing in what would be her first big success, "Rosemary's Baby" by Franco-Polish film director Roman Polanski in 1968. When she refused, they got divorced.

She spent several months meditating in India with the Beatles, then married the German-born American conductor Andre Previn in 1970. Her love of children took her to Asia, where she adopted three children.

She had another success with Jack Clayton's "The Great Gatsby" in 1974.

The 1980s were marked by a passionate love affair with Woody Allen who gave her important roles, notably in "Hannah and her Sisters" and "Alice". Allen left Farrow in 1992 to marry her adoptive daughter Soon-Yi.

Her acting continued into her later life, in 2009 and 2010 playing the role of the grandmother in "Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard", and "Arthur and the War of Two Worlds" by France's Luc Besson).

In her humanitarian work she has in particular become very involved in the conflict in Sudan. She has visited the conflict-ravaged region of Darfur several times to help the refugees and even proposed in 2007 to be imprisoned in exchange for the freeing of an opponent of the Khartoum regime.

She opposed the holding of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, saying the games would be known as the "Genocide Olympics" due to China's support for Sudan's government.

She went on a three-week hunger strike in April-May 2009 after the expulsion of 13 humanitarian workers by Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

Farrow has also committed herself to helping survivors of the Rwandan genocide, spoke out on behalf of Palestinian children in Gaza in October 2009 and in March 2010 she went to Chad as part of a campaign against polio and malnutrition.

© 2010 AFP

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