Tom Hanks gushed over Alan Alda’s career as he presented the actor with a Life Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Sunday (27Jan19).
The Forrest Gump actor took to the stage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to pay tribute to his Bridge of Spies co-star Alda, real name Alphonso D’Abruzzo.
“A career is measured by different yard sticks. Quality being the first. There’s longevity, as well, but most important, I think perhaps, is how an actor’s choices reflect the time or the tenor of our troubled world and of our human natures,” Hanks said. “The actor we honour tonight for his life achievements is worthy then not just for his decades of work and praiseworthy credits, but for how he’s shown us all who we are and what we all can be.”
He continued by gushing over the 83-year-old’s achievements, including being the first-ever person to win Emmy Awards for acting, writing and directing, for his TV show M*A*S*H, for his philanthropy, his family and his work onscreen and on the Broadway stage.
“You cannot be too one-sided or only half experienced. Alphonso D’Abruzzo, tonight, for decades, for a lifetime, we have been lucky to have watched the former Mr. D’Abruzzo ply his craft and tonight, we celebrate our good fortune and a life’s labor of Alan Alda,” he concluded.
Alda, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, received a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage, and during his speech, he said it was an actor’s responsibility to show audiences different perspectives, particularly in the current climate.
“It may never have been more urgent than to see the world through another person’s eyes than when a culture is divided so sharply. Actors can help, at least a little bit, just by doing what we do,” he continued. “And the nice part is it’s fun to do it… So my wish for all of us is – let’s stay playful, let’s have fun and let’s keep searching. It can’t solve everything, but it wouldn’t hurt.”
Alda follows in the footsteps of previous honorees including Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Morgan Freeman and Debbie Reynolds.