NEW: Actress Mariel Hemingway speaks up for suffering kids in Gardens

Jan 12, 2018
Mariel Hemingway was the keynote speaker at the annual KidSanctuary Campus Luncheon and Fashion Show at The Gardens Mall Friday, January 12, 2018. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Actress Mariel Hemingway’s own family history is riddled with mental illness, addiction and abuse, but spending two days at a West Palm Beach home for abused children was an eye-opener, she said Friday.

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Hemingway, granddaughter of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway, spoke at a sold-out KidSanctuary Campus charity lunch and fashion show at The Gardens Mall. More than 280 people attended the lunch.

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The KidSanctuary Campus provides 24-hour housing and care for children who are removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

“You have done something extraordinary with KidSanctuary,” Hemingway said. “You’re starting them on a blueprint to have a life. They have a chance because they have a home.”

Some of the children in KidSanctuary’s care have never had beds before and are excited to have food in their homes, she said.

Alcoholism, depression and other mental illnesses have plagued the Hemingway family, Mariel has said in previous interviews.

In her 2015 memoir “Out Came the Sun,” Hemingway said her “Manhattan” movie co-star Woody Allen invited her to Paris when she turned 18, two years after the filming. He was in his 40s. Her parents lightly encouraged her to go, she said.

She told him she couldn’t go because she didn’t think she was going to get her own room, she wrote in the book.

Hemingway, 56, began acting at age 14 with a 1976 Golden Globe-nominated performance in “Lipstick.” She also played Dorothy Stratten in the 1983 film “Star 80” about a Playboy model’s life and murder.

Other than a fleeting reference to her acting days, Hemingway did not talk about the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual violence.