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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mariska Hargitay to Voice "Children of 9/11" Special

NBC Entertainment Press Release
August 31, 2011 9:58 AM

Mariska Hargitay, Star of "Law and Order: SVU," to Voice "Children of 9/11" Special

Airs Monday, September 5th at 10 PM ET on NBC

NEW YORK, NY - August 31, 2011 - On September 11, 2001, over 3000 children lost a father or a mother. They come from many different walks of life, but are united by a terrifying shared experience. On Monday, September 5th at 10 pm ET, NBC will present "Children of 9/11," a riveting special which gives a voice to the young people directly affected by this terrible event. Emmy Award winning actress and star of NBC's "Law and Order: SVU," Mariska Hargitay, will be the voice of this special. The special follows a year in the lives of some of these children, watching them overcome the loss and turn their lives around by achieving ambitions that would make their parents proud.

For the first time, this special gives a voice to the young people directly affected by 9/11. A bitter twist of fate has indelibly linked their childhood to the worst terrorist attack of modern times. As the film interweaves their stories, home movie footage creates intimate portraits of the families, both before and after the event. Powerful interviews reveal the tough and inspiring personal journeys that the children have taken.

The special follows a year in the lives of 11 children from six families across America, including Thea Trinidad, who at 10 years old couldn't understand why her father was calling to say goodbye. Caitlin Langone, 22, was in school when a teacher told her that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Her father, a police officer and volunteer fire-fighter in Queens was caught up in the horror as he and his brother helped in the rescue. Rodney Ratchford, 21, lost his mother, an IT specialist in the United States Navy when the Pentagon was attacked. Tommy Strada, 17, whose father was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, still finds it hard to cope and identify with friends. His younger brother, Justin, was just four days old when his father died. Farquad Chowdhury was the first child born to a 9/11 victim. His father was a waiter at Windows on the World and his mother gave birth to him two days later. Halley, Madison and Anna Clare Burnett's father Tom was one of the brave men who fought the hijackers on board United flight 93. His daughters describe him as a role-model and continue to celebrate his heroism.

Hargitay has earned eight consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Olivia Benson on "Law and Order: SVU," with a win in 2006. She also received the 2005 Golden Globe Award and another Golden Globe nomination in 2009, six SAG Award nominations, and two Gracie Allen Awards for American Women in Radio and Television.

Inspired by her role on "Law & Order: SVU," Hargitay created the Joyful Heart Foundation, whose mission is to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness surrounding these issues. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Hawaii, JHF offers healing, wellness and empowerment programs for survivors of abuse and the professionals who care for them. "Joyful Heart is about the courage to heal, and all of our programming is dedicated to honoring that brave decision," says Hargitay.

Through Joyful Heart, Hargitay has used her voice to bring attention, funding, and new legislation to critical issues facing sexual and family violence survivors, working with the medical community, the criminal justice system and law enforcement. Last year, she testified before Congress to urge lawmakers to address the backlog of untested rape kits in the US, and recently launched endthebacklog.org, the first website dedicated to addressing this issue.

Hargitay has also lent her time and voice to other organizations such as Lee National Denim Day (one of the largest single-day fundraisers for breast cancer) for which she was the 2007 Ambassador, Autism Speaks, The Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, The Santa Monica Rape Crisis Center, The Girl Scouts of America, Project ALS, The James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness (JRI), Safe Horizon, and the Venice Family Clinic, the nation's largest free health clinic. She has also appeared in national campaigns for NBC's "The More You Know" and Got Milk.

"Children of 9/11" is produced by Janice Sutherland at Darlow Smithson Productions.


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