Mia Farrow's New Role

07/22/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Mia Farrow, 54, who had polio when she was 9, has become a celebrity spokeswoman for the disease, reports The New York Times, which says the actress will be speaking at a Global Polio Eradication conference tomorrow at the United Nations in New York. The goal of the gathering is to wipe out polio by 2005. Farrow will be accompanied by her adopted son Thaddeus, 12, who also had polio. (Unlike Farrow, who grew up privileged in Beverly Hills, Thaddeus was abandoned in the Calcutta rail station.) Farrow credits her time in a hospital ward, hearing adults scream and seeing children die, with giving her "a social conscience," she tells the paper. She is also quoted as saying that she has tried to contact her adopted daughter Soon-Yi (who is married to Farrow's ex-boyfriend, Woody Allen) but was rebuffed. A happier subject is ex-husband Frank Sinatra. "He didn't sing to me," Farrow says of the late Ol' Blue Eyes. "But he was pretty terrific."

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