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Hawk Koch’s legacy moment

On his first morning as prexy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Hawk Koch made the interview rounds, able to speak on the record for the first time about his vision for the position. Our chat for Variety can be found here. I can testify to how genuine his enthusiasm was, along with how meaningful the achievement is from a family legacy perspective, following in the footsteps of his father, Howard W. Koch (shown in the clip above), who also served as Acad president.

Here’s the text from Dad’s acceptance speech for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in March 1990, in which he references his son one day coming up on the Oscar stage.

… It seems strange to receive an award for living your life. What has ever seemed special to others that I may have done was only a part of my life: a life I have with my family at home, my life that I have with my family at work. I love what I do, I really do. It’s great to be in this industry. My life has been its own reward. For you to add such a special honor this evening, well, there simply are no words.

My Paramount family—and my family’s crying right there right now. Come on. My Paramount family, which I’ve been part of for the last 26 years, where they called me Dr. Koch, and my own family. My wife Ruth, who I love and adore, and without you I’d still be saying to Mervyn LeRoy, “I’m ready when you are, Mr. LeRoy!” But I love you. And my daughter, my lovely daughter Melinda, who anyone would be proud to have for a daughter. And her Alan, handsome guy. Howard, Jr., who hopefully will be standing right on this stage one day receiving his Oscar. And all my grandchildren are here tonight. Now, wait a minute, I can’t remember. Wally, help me with this. Let’s see, there’s Wendy and her Tim, Carol, Robby, and Billy the “Northwestern flash.” There you are, Billy. My sister Lola—oh, I forgot Emily! I told you! Come back, roll it back. And my granddaughter Emily. Emily, the most beautiful one in the family. I’m sorry. My sister Lola, and before I forget, my secretary Laurie, who rewrote every letter I dictated and made it better. That’s true, Laurie, wherever you are. And you know, there’s an old saying that it’s more blessed to give than receive. But tonight, if I may, it’s more blessed to receive. Thank you. And thank you, Aubrey: It’s steady ole Peddie!

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