Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 16, 1974 · Page 134
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 134

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 16, 1974
Page 134
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/Actress Marilyn Hassett (right; will portray former leading skier Jill Kinmont (in wheelchair) in a movie about her struggle to resume a useful life following the 1955 accident that ended her promising career. BEVERLY HILIS, CALIF. T wenty years ago PARADE photographed a beautiful 17-year-old championship skier-on the=slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho. Her name was Jill Kinmont; she came from Bishop, Calif.; she was a delightful, friendly, wholesome girl, surely destined for top laurels in the 1956 Winter Olympics. A year later, on the last Sunday in January, 1955, Jill. Kinmont, to avoid smashing into a tree at 60 miles an hour, veered sharply to her left, hit a spectator, cartwheeled down the slope. She severed her spinal column, crushed half a dozen vertebrae. "My God," she sobbed, "What have I done? What's happened?" Hospital in Salt Lake City It was 10 days before Jill Kinmont learned the answer. In Salt Lake City, hospital doctors told her that she would be almost completely paralyzed from the shoulders down, she would be confined to aTPheelchair for life, she would be unable to use her hands. by Charles Peterson With incredibly cheerful determination, Jill decided to restructure her life, "to do the best with whatT had left." 5he-spent-the-next ^ecade-fearning how to eat, write, and type with special utensils. She attended UCLA, hop- ing to become a teacher. The university said it was sorry, but there were certain rules excluding handicapped persons -from eiiteiing the-Srhoohrf-Education. Jill got her A.B. anyway, worked with troubled boys at UCLA's Graduate 1 Psychology Clinic. Then she moved onto' the University of Washington where she was accepted in the School of Education and earned her teaching credentials. Back in Los Angeles she discovered that the Los Angeles school district wouldn't hire her because of her handicap. They hired her But the Beverly Hills school district would. And that's .where Jill Kinmont is today--in her wheelchair, happily, enthusiastically teaching remedial reading at -the Hawthorne Elementary School. Jill, however, does more than that Each summer she teaches reading to the Piute Indian children in her hometown of Bishop where she is admired and adored by everyone. Two months ago, Universal Pictures decided to produce a film based on Jill Kinmont's life story. It's called The Other S/de. of the Mountain. A, relatively unknown actress, Marilyn Hassett, portrays Jill. Some won't see it % .h It is too bad that some of the most important people in Jill's life won't be around to see the film. Dick Buek, for example, a fellow skier who fell in love and planned to marry Jill, died in a plane crash near Donner Lake. Bud Werner, whom PARADE photographed with Jill two decades ago; was killed in a Swiss avalanche. Jill's dad, William Kinmont, died of a brain tumor in 1967. And Lee Zadrdga, a buddy at UCLA who inspired her to become a teacher, died of a mysterious disease. Despite all these tragedies and her personal one, Jill Kinmont refuses ever to submit to depression, dismay, or discouragement. Her life represents the epitome of valiance. Here's hoping The Other Side of the Mountain does her tostice-tf TtTaptureslier indomitable spirit, it should prove an unforgettable inspiration to all. . 10 Miss Kinmont in 1955: On the giant slalom at Alt*, Utah, moments before her

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