Hollywood mogul and LDS missionaries bring hope to Cambodian children

by | Nov. 27, 2009

Saints & Sports

One of Hollywood's biggest moguls gave up that life a few years ago to help the poorest children in Cambodia. A Utah couple, Latter-day Saint missionaries serving there, stepped forward to help him.

Freelance producer and photographer, Trent Harris, traveled there last month to help us bring you their story.

Neeson walks through the slums in Cambodia's capitol city, collecting children. They live in a garbage dump. Born in Edinburgh and raised in Australia, the now American citizen has spent the last five years rescuing hundreds of children, building the schools where they now learn.

It's a far cry from his previous work. Neeson spent 10 years at 20th Century Fox, eventually becoming president of international releases. He managed Hollywood successes like "Titanic," "Braveheart," "X-Men," and the new "Star Wars" trilogy. He then went to Sony Pictures. Life in Hollywood was good.

"I was very wealthy, yes. I had a very good salary there, very nice house in Brentwood. I was doing very nicely, yes," he tells Harris. Then with a laugh he says, "Not so much now, no."

In 2003, Neeson traveled to Cambodia for several weeks. That trip changed his life. One year later, he sold the mansion, the luxury cars - everything -- and moved to Cambodia.

"It feels like something I was meant to do," he says.

He started with the Cambodian Children's Fund school, of which there are now three others, then vocational training. That's when he sent an e-mail to other humanitarian organizations in the country for help. Mike and Kathy Johnson of West Jordan were serving an LDS mission as country directors for LDS humanitarian work in Cambodia. Their efforts were helping organizations like Neeson's. They came together. Neeson took them to the garbage dump.

Read the rest of this story at ksl.com