A Special Message...

...from Mary Kay's husband and Project founder, Dino Andrade.

1961-1999

An open letter to all  -

The Oscar 2000 telecast featured Robin Williams performing the Oscar Nominated Song, "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.   In the film, this song was an ensemble piece, in which all the lead vocals were performed by only a single individual, my late wife, Mary Kay Bergman.

One of the true greats in voice-over history, her work ranged the gamut, from Disney features to South Park, where thanks to the latter, her starring roles led to this gentle creature getting to live out her life's dream of stepping from a limo and walking the "premiere night" red carpet of Grauman's Chinese theater dressed as a princess. Unfortunately she was also a victim of mental illness, and did not live to see the Academy Award nomination to which her gifts would eventually contribute.

Outside, Mary Kay was a "larger-than-life" character, funny, outgoing, loving, friendly to a fault, beloved, admired and respected by all - and with a talent that will remain unparalleled.  Without a doubt, she was at the very top of her game.  Inside however, she was haunted by the demons of an untreated advanced anxiety disorder.  Ever the consummate actress, Mary Kay managed to keep the true depths of her suffering hidden from us all... her friends, family, co-workers, and sad to say, even myself.  In the end, these demons overwhelmed her, led to despair and finally to her suicide.

Mary Kay was not a "casualty" of Hollywood - on the contrary, her deep inner-strength, the success and celebrity of her career, the joy of her craft, and the love of her fans, was the fuel that kept Mary Kay going.  Her contribution to an Oscar Nomination is a final testament to the courage of this woman who, day-after-day, faced her ever-growing phantom fears to achieve that which most only dream of.  And yet Mary Kay's death makes it tragically clear that no amount of fortitude, success, or fame, can prevent the ultimate dangers of untreated mental illness.

Therefore I make this plea: If you are suffering - if you live with pain, fear, anxiety, depression or despair - you must seek help. The first step is to speak out, to tell someone of your pain.  I believe that if my wife had told me of the dark place she was in, I could have gotten her the help she needed and thus she would be alive today.  If this plea can reach just one person, and help them to see the light in the darkness, then I will know that Mary Kay's death was not a waste, but a sacrifice so that another might live.

Dino Andrade
Founder - Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Project

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Last modified: September 19, 2001