Want to know how to make it to the top in show business?
I know, I know what you’re thinking: I’m a priest! How should I know?
Well, actually, I do know -- but only because Michael Keaton gave away his secret as he accepted the Golden Globe award for best actor.
And it sounded to me like he was giving the credit to his solid Catholic upbringing. “In the household in which I was raised, the themes were pretty simple,” he said in his speech. “Work hard. Don’t quit. Be appreciative. Be thankful. Be grateful. Be respectful. Also, never whine, never complain. And always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor.”
Keaton identified himself as the seventh child of George and Leona Douglas from Forest Grove, Pennsylvania. “I don't ever remember a time when my father didn’t work two jobs,” he added. “When my mother wasn’t saying the Rosary or going to Mass or trying to take care of seven kids in a rundown farmhouse, she was volunteering at the Ohio Valley Hospital where I was born in the hallway.”
It’s not the first time Michael Keaton has tipped his hat to the Catholic faith. In a recent interview he expressed his appreciation for the discipline he learned from the sisters who staffed his Catholic school.
The faith gave him a certain toughness by teaching him to endure difficulties — offering them up — with no whining or complaining. That toughness comes in handy in any business as competitive and demanding as the one he’s in.
He has apparently learned many lessons well. Just as he benefited from his own parents’ sacrificial love, so he wants his son to benefit from having Michael Keaton as a dad.
He ended his speech by addressing his “best friend,” who is “kind, intelligent, funny, talented, considerate, thoughtful … Did I say kind?” That best friend is his son, the singer-songwriter Sean Douglas.
“Honor your father and mother … that it may be well with you” (Ephesians 6:2-3). Some things, it seems, have gone very well for Michael Keaton. He knows whom to thank.
While I can’t endorse a movie I haven’t seen, I think we can all agree that we now know the secret to his success.