Gilley, Jeremy 1969-

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GILLEY, Jeremy 1969-

PERSONAL:

Born 1969, in England.

ADDRESSES:

Home—England. Office—Peace One Day, Block D, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Actor, documentary filmmaker, and activist. Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-on-Avon, England, former stage actor; actor for television, including Alias Smith and Jones (series), 1985, Feasting with Panthers (series), 1989, The Storyteller: Greek Myths (miniseries), 1990, My Name's Sergeant Bergerac (miniseries), 1990, and Ultraviolet (miniseries), 1998. Director and producer of documentary films, including Where the Red Wind Blows, 1999, and Peace One Day, 2004.

WRITINGS:

(And director) Peace One Day (documentary film), BBC Films, 2004.

Peace One Day: How September 21 Became World Peace Day (picture book), illustrated by Karen Lessen, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jeremy Gilley, a British actor whose credits included roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, changed the course of his life while trying to help change the course of the world. Leaving acting behind in 1999, he dedicated the next few years of his life to establishing one day out of each year where no warring would take place on earth. As Gilley explained in an interview for BBC Storyville online: "The millennium was coming, this big moment that everyone was talking about, so I wanted to record something about the world and why we're not living peacefully. I was thinking about whether the United Nations could really unite the world and the more I thought about it the more I realized that there was no international day of peace." With this inspiration, Gilley spent three years working with international leaders, and in 2001 his efforts resulted in a U.N. resolution fixing September 21 of each year as World Peace Day.

As an outgrowth of his efforts to establish World Peace Day, Gilley produced both a documentary film and a picture book illustrated with Karen Blessen's collage art. In the book, titled Peace One Day: How September 21 Became World Peace Day, he chronicles his efforts, and includes the remarks of world leaders such as the Dalai Lama, South African leader Nelson Mandela, and then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Featuring images of children during wartime, along with penciled portraits of world peace leaders, the book also contains Gilley's account of his quest. "The combination of text and illustrations demonstrates the message that 'everyone can make a difference,'" commented Margaret R. Tassia in School Library Journal. Booklist critic Hazel Rochman called Peace One Day a "handsome picture book" in which "the passionate prose and stirring images how and tell that each person can make a difference."

Ironically, the date that the bell was successfully rung at the United Nations, cementing Gilley's hard-fought resolution, was September 11, 2001, the same day radical Islamic terrorists attacked the United States and provoked a lengthy war. "I think it makes it all the more poignant," Gilley remarked in his BBC Storyville interview. "This is why we've got to come together. We've got to stand together as one."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Peace One Day: How September 21 Became World Peace Day, p. 51.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 2005, Karen Bush, review of Peace One Day, p. 1361.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, review of Peace One Day, p. 735.

School Library Journal, September, 2005, Margaret R. Tassia, review of Peace One Day, p. 222.

Time for Kids, September 16, 2005, "Spotlight: Jeremy Gilley," p. 8.

Vanity Fair, October, 2003, David Friend, "Vanity Fair Nominates Jeremy Gilley."

ONLINE

Adelaide Film Festival Web site,http://2005.adelaidefilmfestival.org/ (October 10, 2006), "Peace One Day."

BBC Storyville,http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (October 10, 2006), Nick Fraser, "Peace One Day."

Peace One Day Web site,http://www.peaceoneday.org (October 10, 2006).

Times Online,http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ (September 7, 2006), Mary Ann Sieghart, "You May Say He's a Dreamer."*