Sunday, March 29, 2009

About HOBY Founder - Hugh O'Brien

O'Brian was born Hugh Charles Krampe in Rochester, New York, the son of Edith and Captain Hugh John Krampe, a marine. He attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois (as did Rock Hudson, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret and many other future stars) and later Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. In high school, he lettered in football, basketball, wrestling and track. After a semester at the University of Cincinnati with studies charted toward a law career, O'Brian, at 17, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942. O'Brian distinguished himself by becoming the youngest drill sergeant to have ever served in the Marine Corps, still only 17.

Following World War II, O'Brian moved to Los Angeles and found work on stage and in film. He got his big break when he was chosen to portray the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp on ABC, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp debuted in 1955 as the "first adult western" and it soon became one of the top-rated shows on television. During its seven-year run, Wyatt Earp consistently placed in the top 10 in the United States.

For those too young to be familiar with his previous work: He also had a small role in the Danny DeVito/Arnold Schwarzenegger 1988 film comedy Twins, as one of several men who had "donated" the DNA that later became the "twins." In the film, Schwarzenegger thought he'd found his "father," when he met Hugh O’Brian's character.

On June 25, 2006, O'Brian, at the age of eighty-one, married for the first time. His wife is the former Virginia Barber (born ca. 1952). The ceremony was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, with the Reverend Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, officiating. The couple was serenaded by close friend Debbie Reynolds.

Hugh O'Brian has dedicated much of his life to the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). HOBY is a non-profit youth leadership development program that empowers 10,000 sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception in 1958, over 355,000 young people have been inspired by HOBY.

One high school sophomore from every high school in the United States, referred to as an “ambassador,” is welcome to attend a state or regional HOBY seminar. From each of those seminars, students (number based on population) are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Conference (WLC) held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended from all 50 states and 20 countries.

The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer believed "the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves."

Hugh O’Brian’s message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” Here is his brief speech on this topic: "I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual's development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?

"I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love."

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