Philomena Lee Honored by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti
UPDATED: Though Garcetti was absent from the event, the real-life inspiration for the Oscar-nominated film "Philomena" was recognized for her work in adoption rights.
As the creative team behind Stephen Frears' Oscar-nominated Philomena continues its campaigning efforts, the real-life inspiration behind the film received another accolade for her lifelong work.
Philomena Lee was honored on Tuesday at the Los Angeles City Hall with a certificate of recognition, signed by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, for her lifelong work and devotion to issues of adoption rights, as well as her commitment to The Philomena Project charity.
Though Garcetti was absent from the event, he noted in a statement: "I am proud to welcome Ms. Philomena Lee to Los Angeles. I am inspired by her story. We hope that this recognition helps in some way to raise awareness of the issue of forced adoptions and to shine a light on the past to open the way for healing of so many mothers and their lost children."
The certificate was presented to Lee by Los Angeles Westside representative Daniel Tamm for her recently launched Philomena Project, which calls on the Irish government to enact legislation to open up adoption records and reunite mothers separated from their children as a result of forced adoption. Philomena, which tells the story of Lee's efforts to track down the son taken from her in 1952, was made into a book by BBC reporter Martin Sixsmith, and then adapted as a screenplay by Frears, Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, who plays Sixsmith in the film.
"It's absolutely amazing," said Lee upon receiving the accolade, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Just a few weeks ago, I was just an ordinary housewife. And then all of a sudden, this has just snowballed. I'm coping with it as much as I can."
The L.A. event follows Lee's recent visit to meet Pope Francis at The Vatican.