OSCAR-WINNING actress Jennifer Lawrence starred in her own real-life fairytale to make a dream come true for her best friend.
Years before the 22-year-old Hunger Games star found fame in Hollywood, she nominated neighbour Andy Strunk – who has Down’s Syndrome – in a contest to find the most popular boy in school.
At first, Andy’s parents were worried the other kids at Kammerer Middle School in Louisville, Kentucky, might make fun of him. And his mother, Pollyanna, even took Jennifer aside to tell her about their concern.
But Jennifer, then 14, convinced them they had nothing to worry about. As the most popular girl in school, she planned to lead the campaign for Andy herself.
In a happy ending worthy of a Hollywood script, the special needs youngster – whose educational level remains that of a seven-year-old – won the contest hands down and was voted Mr Kammerer.
Jennifer’s support – she won the title of Most Chatty – cemented the close friendship between the movie beauty and the pal who describes himself as her No1 fan.
Even after she rocketed to fame – first in 2010’s Winter’s Bone, for which she received a Best Actress Academy Awards nomination, and then the box-office hits The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook – Jennifer has stayed in touch with Andy.
Andy’s mum Pollyanna, a 58-year-old nurse, said: “Jennifer is a very kind spirit. There aren’t many people who are movie stars who would spend time with a special needs kid.
“She last saw him on Christmas Day. She came over to give him his Christmas hug and he was over the moon all day. When she’s in town, she just walks down the street and knocks on the door to come and see Andy.”
The proud mum said Jennifer’s campaign to get her classmates to vote for Andy in the school popularity poll was a big turning point in his life.
“She made the nomination for Andy to be Mr Kammerer,” added Pollyanna. “It was the most popular position for a child to be in at that age.
“I was concerned about it because I was worried people would make fun of him but I talked to Jennifer and agreed to let her do it.
“She did place the nomination – and he won. That was really what started the friendship between them and they are still in touch. He loved being showered with all that attention.
“They’ve spent time together over the years. Jennifer’s parents have a pool and Andy was invited to go over and use it whenever he wanted. Jennifer would swim with him and enjoyed his company.
“She has always been very respectful of him and always treated him in a very kind way.”
However, Pollyanna said another top American female singer and actress was not so caring – and it left Jennifer furious.
She said: “There is another actress Andy was a big fan of. She was in a show he loved on the Disney Channel and she was doing a concert near us. I got a ticket for Andy and he was really looking forward to going.”
She said Jennifer asked the performer to do something special for her friend.
Pollyanna added: “But they did nothing. Jennifer was upset because she couldn’t understand why another person couldn’t see Andy was special like she does.
“He didn’t expect anything but some people have a kind heart and some don’t.”
Pollyanna, who has two other grown-up sons with husband George, 59, a Methodist church pastor, said: “Andy doesn’t change for her and other people do. Other people grow up.
“Other friends she went to middle school with are in college or starting families but Andy still lives here and he’s still here when she comes home.
“She can knock on the door and things stay the same. He’s always happy to see her. He just knows he likes her and she likes him.
“When she left at 14, he believed she was going to be a star. In his mind, he always knew that. I’d take him to a bookshop and he’d stay there for an hour going through magazines looking for anything with her name and picture on.
“He had a tough time the first couple of years after she left finding pictures and anything about Jennifer. He would search like it was a treasure hunt but now it’s much easier. He has a filing cabinet full.”
Jennifer, who is on her friend’s speed dial, also sends Andy mementoes. She signed a film poster for Winter’s Bone with the words, “Andy, Don’t forget me. Love you, Jennifer”.
She can be certain Andy and his family will never forget his loyal friend.
The actress’s mum Karen, who is also close to the Strunk family, said: “Jennifer loves Andy. That’s genuine.”
On Oscar night last Sunday, Andy dressed up in a tux to watch the ceremony. When Jennifer took the stage, after a slight stumble, to collect her award, Andy jumped up and down and pumped his fists.
“Oh my God! That’s my girl, she did it. She got it. I love you, Jennifer.” he shouted. “She’s the greatest girl in the world.”
[quote]She said: “There is another actress Andy was a big fan of. She was in a show he loved on the Disney Channel and she was doing a concert near us. I got a ticket for Andy and he was really looking forward to going.” She said Jennifer asked the performer to do something special for her friend. Pollyanna added: “But they did nothing. Jennifer was upset because she couldn’t understand why another person couldn’t see Andy was special like she does.
Who was this bitch?
Hilary Duff maybe?
OP = Jennifer's PR agent
[quote]OP = Jennifer's PR agent
If he were then he would have spelled her name right and this would have come out while Oscar voting was still happening.
And yes, I'm going with either Hilary Duff or Selena Gomez.
R2, it must be some young woman whose role model is Ina Garten.
More PR to shove her down our throats.. great. I don't really care about Jennifer one way or another, but this obvious PR push is just annoying. Seeing Jennifer everywhere is just unnecessary. She will be hated before you know it. This sudden PR push will only backfire. She's becoming the new Kardashian.
The Disney actress would probably have to be Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, or Bridget Mendler.
Duff seems the most cunty of them.
If Andy has a type, it's Hilary Duff.
If he were then he would have spelled her name right and this would have come out while Oscar voting was still happening."
The name spelling is a typo.
He's trying to counteract all the negative press she's been getting lately; falling on her face at the Oscars, flipping the bird at a reporter, getting photographed drunk and stoned and scantily-clad and snuggling up to an equally scantily-clad female "friend."
There's been no negative press, R11. The Oscar press conference and the weed pics just made her even more popular.
I think this is wonderful. Jennifer Lawrence is a mensch.
And I feel sorry for any fool who would say this is a PR move. She is obviously the real deal, and it's not that extraordinary. There are lots of kind people in the world.
Oh my GAWD! I love Jennifer Lawrence so much!
Goddamn I am sick of everyone slobbering all over this girl.
She is not that unique.
[quote]There's been no negative press, [R11]. The Oscar press conference and the weed pics just made her even more popular.
That's because Jennifer is all down to earth, and not a fake Hollywood actress.
R15 = AnnE Hathaway
this obsessiveness with celebrities is so pitiful. everyone used to act the exact same way with Kristen Stewart. Now she's been shoved off to the sides with her sad little crutches - hobbling away on the red carpet in her gown. Jennifer L is smarter and knows how to play the fans but stop dumbing yourself down and acting like she is something more than she is. she is an actress. key word: ACT.
It maybe an act, but it's a GOOD act and that's the difference. And so far she's not come across as smug and smarmy like that asshole Clooney or like a sullen, jerk like Kristen Stewart. Everybody puts on an act of some sort, hers just works very very well.
She's a publicist's dream client.
Jennifer Lawrence is a Goddess!! Being a major fan of The Hunger Games, she can do no wrong.
[quote]Goddamn I am sick of everyone slobbering all over this girl. She is not that unique.
Exactly. And what has she done for gays that gays are worshipping her? So sick of gays worshipping straight famous women who do nothing for them, yet won't even support gay celebs.
Not much of a fan of Hathaway either, r18.
she seems to be appreciative. she seems to have the personality and thick skin to survive her time in Hollywood. she doesn't seem to take it or herself seriously. very likeable. As it should be. Goddess? No. Good actress? Sure. Deserving of the Best Actress Oscar? Absolutely not. Especially when you have seasoned veterans like Sally Fields. Oh well, it's just entertainment. Noone is saving the world here so I guess it's ok. It could have been worse.
Kristen Stewart isn't a good analogy. Most of Kristen's lovers were Twilight fans, and the haters outnumbered the fans. People like Jennifer for more than one reason (Winter's Bone, X-Men, Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook) and she isn't, at this point anyway, someone that is generally hated by big groups of people.
Jennifer is Kristen only if Kristen could act and wasn't a cunt.
Is there anything that this marvelous young woman can't do? I eagerly await her finding a cure for cancer and stopping global warming.
Kristen Stewart is a GREAT analogy. It shows how you can be the "it girl" one minute and "forgotten" the next. kristen is rich so she has that going for her. Jennifer is a country girl with a fresh smiley face who knows how to be gracious and it works for her. Kristen always looked like she hated the fans and hated being looked at. It doesn't matter what group or groups of people you think may like or dislike JLawrence or Kristen, the point is that it's not going to be here forever so appreciate it while you have it. KS seems to be self sabotaging her career at every turn...at least she'll have her cash to keep her warm at night.
If I were Jennifer Lawrence I'd be pissed that something like this went to press.
It would be beautiful karma if Kristen blew all her money on drugs and ended up signing autographs at Twilight conventions to make ends meet.
I love her too.
Jennifer Lawrence is our Queen!
I agree with R28. This isn't needed and contributes to overexposure.
According to the interview with the boy's mother (Pollyanna?!), he loves attention. If that's true, then it's not as if he &/or his family would feel that the publicity violated their privacy.
Stories like this put her in a positive light & set a good example for others about how to treat people who are different from ourselves.
"There's been no negative press, [R11]. The Oscar press conference and the weed pics just made her even more popular."
You are fucking delusional. The "weed pics made her even more popular?" Uh, no they didn't. You're a nutso fangurl. Get some help.
"Jennifer Lawrence is our Queen!"
Speak for yourself, you silly twat.
Is Jennifer Lawrence supposed to be some kind of gay icon? Why the hell would that be? Is is because she's a closeted lesbian? I don't see why that would be reason for gays to worship her.
Somebody ought to teach her some manners and how to conduct herself in public. She doesn't appear to have been raised well.
[quote]She doesn't appear to have been raised well.
I'm sure Andy would disagree. and his mother would disagree.
Your bitterness is delicious, R34!
But look it up. People LOVED the Oscar press conference. I can't remember when a press conference for an Oscar win went viral. Even DL seemed to like it, and we hate everything here. It showed that she was witty, funny and didn't take herself so seriously.
As for the Hawaii pics - does anybody but the most ridiculously prudish care that she was smoking a joint on her balcony? It made her more 'relatable' and 'fun'. Who wouldn't want to relax in Hawaii with some weed after you've won the Oscar?
Wake me when she's photographed falling out of a club drunk or screaming at paparazzi.
Otherwise she's a publicist's wet dream in how she presents to the media.
She's everything Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart try to be and both fail miserably.
With your logic, R35, Adele certainly shouldn't be our Queen, and she seems to be. She is marginally talented, fat, and dresses horribly. Yet around here and all of gaydom, she is worshiped and adored. At least Lawrence seems to have a fun and positive personality.
Anyone else see a resemblance, however faint, to Suzanne Pleshette?
So far, she's coming off a hell of a lot better than Taylor Swift with her boyfriend-of-the-month (or week, etc.).
Judging from the comments, Daily Mail readers, who are usually conservative and prudish, have no issues with her. "What cigarette? I don't see one.", "What's wrong with relaxing with a joint?" and complaints about the invasion of privacy are the most favored responses.
R39 - a bit. More in the voice.
Lawrence reminds me a lot of a young Diane Lane, in terms of looks and that sort of older than her years sexuality. She has a much warmer and funnier personality, though, and she already does a much better job picking her roles.
IMO, JL is the most entertaining actor in interviews since Emma Thompson hit the A-List in the late 80's/early 90's.
This happened in my school, although the boy they were trying to elect as Homecoming King was not exactly obviously mentally disabled, just very socially clumsy and geeky and bullied. He probably was autistic. He just didn't "get it" and was a perpetual butt of jokes. He had been bullied by this particular clique since kindergarten.
The popular kids nominated him as a big fat joke, and he won (and to his credit pretended he was happy), but it was all as a joke. I like to think that hopefully he didn't really understand that he was being mocked.
I wonder whether this easily could have been the same situation here, and that this story is a cover-up. This raises my hackles, rather than thinking that Jennifer Lawrence is a sweetheart.
I'm assuming if that were true, R44, Andy's mother wouldn't give an interview with such a glowing report about Jennifer Lawrence.
She could have just as easily gone to the press to say what an asshole Lawrence was to her kid (if true).
"It showed that she was witty, funny and didn't take herself so seriously."
There's nothing "witty" about flipping the bird. And she seemed rather confused and uncomprehending when questioned. Maybe that's because she "had a shot" before facing the reporters. I guess her swoony fans were delighted: "Ooohh, she's TIPSY! Isn't she the most darling thing! That's so CUTE!"
She seems like a mess; inarticulate, plump, frequently under the influence of something.
She tends to put her foot in her mouth. Right now she's being given a free ride due to her youth and premature success, but believe me, that's going to wear off. And soon if she keeps getting photographed drunk, stoned, undressed and canoodling with another female.
OK, gramps at R47. Time for your nap.
R43 - Diane did not look older than her years when she was 22. Jennifer and Diane have rather different features.
Actresses who Jennifer remind me of are Theresa Russell, Mary McCormack, and Laura Prepon.
R49, you're ridiculous.
God bless this truly amazing woman.
I like this kid. I hope she has a great career and stays away from the bullshit. I also hope she comes out as liking girls, because I think she's a little queerio.
R48 might make more sense if he'd take his tongue out of Jennifer Lawrences unwashed anus.
"God bless this truly amazing woman"
What's "truly amazing" about her? Boy, you sound really retarded.
R47 sounds extremely bitter and unhappy.
It kind of seems like she's leading him on...He definitely feels that their "friendship" is more than it is. I don't know. I find it all a bit condescending and disingenuous, but the friendship is also kind of decent.
[quote]It kind of seems like she's leading him on
Yes, he must have a trust fund of some sorts for her to be doing this. Or she's a sociopath. Only those two can be the real reason.
Now, now [R51] don't be a shit disturber.
I'm wondering what her casting couch experience has been considering the big budget AND art house dream films she has been cast in at such a tender age. Most actresses could only dream of stepping from Winter's Bone to Hunger Games to SLP but doing it before the age of 23? Mind boggling- so who was/is she blowing?
She seems to have a naturally progressing career. Started out in commercials. Then a sitcom. Then small roles in indies. Then Winter's Bone. The Oscar nom opened the door for Hunger Games.
Now Quvenzhané Wallis? That's another story.
She auditioned for Twilight but was beat out by Kristen Stewart. Now there's an actress that I can see having to resort to the casting couch.
Whatever anyone thinks of Jennifer Lawrence, she at least is a female/feminine "role model" or object of admiration for young girls that's far preferable to anything else Hollywood is currently offering. She's normal weight, not conventionally beautiful but a girl who can be attractive to many (men in and women alike), and she's managed to pick roles that aren't demeaning or stupid. No simpering from her.
I think she'd be wrong for Bella.
Bella has no personality. KStew was the perfect Bella.
She was so good in Winter's Bone.
I don't understand the claim that JL looks older than her years. To me, she looks exactly like the 22-year-old she is.
R67 She looks her age but I think she can also pass for someone in their mid to late 20s as well.