Famed Hollywood director Brett Ratner came from humble beginnings, growing up in a middle-class Jewish family led by his maternal grandfather in Miami. But his journey to stardom has a lot to do with the homeless father he would meet for the first time on his 16th birthday.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Ratner explains why the charity he is a board memeber of- Chrysalis, an L.A. nonprofit that helps the homeless find work, is such an important vehicle for him and countless homeless men and woman throughout L.A.
Ratner explains how he met his father for the first time on his 16th birthday after his mother ran into him on the street, and from that moment on a relationship was born.
As Ratner told the HR:
A few years later, I returned to Miami and bumped into him on the street by my house, close to where I met him the first time.
He told me he was homeless and had hidden it from me for years. I became a success, but I couldn't even help my father because of his shame, no matter how much I assured him it was OK.
He would occasionally call to check in, but it pained him to ask for help, so he stayed away. My father died a few years later alone, without me or any family member by his side.
I wish a place like Chrysalis was around then to help my father get a job that would allow him to face me. Every time I look into the eyes of a Chrysalis client, I see my father, who so badly wanted to be there for his son.
Chrysalis does more than just get jobs for the homeless; It gives them back their dignity and self-esteem. My hope is that the clients of Chrysalis will get a job and not stay away from their families for as long as my father did from me.
Chrysalis was founded in 1984 and now has centers in Downtown L.A., Pacoima and Santa Monica.
It has provided employment services for 42,000 homeless men and women, helping clients secure nearly 2,000 jobs in 2011.
Ratner's fellow board members include Fox TV chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. We tip our hats to Ratner as Chrysalis’ work continues to change lives.
To read the interview in its entirety, click over to the Hollywood Reporter.