Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco hosted the Princess Grace Awards’ return to Hollywood at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Wednesday, and continued the legacy of Grace Kelly, and her desire to help young talent.
“They really know how to pick talent that’s going to make an impact in the arts, and for that I’m all for that,” said emcee Jane Lynch.
Since its inception, the Princess Grace Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in scholarships, grants and fellowships to over 700 artists in theater, film and dance, who have gone on to become award-winning actors, directors and performers.
Ballet dancer David Hallberg and actor Oscar Isaac were present to accept the Princess Grace Statue Award, after each receiving an initial award 12 and 10 years ago, respectively.
Isaac shared that his initial award helped him stay in school after he was unable to afford his education, and allowed him to find a manager and an agent to get his career started. It “helps to focus on the work that matters and not just do it for money,” he said of the financial relief the award offered him.
Hallberg added that “it’s become a responsibility” to carry on the guidance and support he received from the foundation, and said he will be donating part of his cash award to fund another young man’s ballet studies.
“It has long been my policy to never present an award, because as a comedian I deeply resent the success of others,” joked Conan O’Brien while introducing Dick Van Dyke, recipient of the Prince Rainier III award, the night’s highest honor. The comedian added that he had wanted to be Van Dyke when growing up, and credited him with launching many a career.
“Dick Van Dyke is universally adored… And speaking on behalf of every single comedy writer, we hold you in the highest esteem because of (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) writing room,” said O’Brien. He noted that the comedy was not only a sitcom, but “the instruction manual — the blueprint that showed all of us the life we want to live.”
Van Dyke took the stage to accept his award with levity, joking that he spent the evening with royalty — “I don’t do that often.” He shared that the Princess Grace Foundation could have been very helpful to him when launching his own career in the late 1950s, struggling to find a good, steady gig.
“I am so happy to be a part of this,” he gushed. “This award means a great deal to me.”
Van Dyke added that he will be turning 89 in December, and took advantage of the opportunity to show that he’s still got it, breaking out into a little tap jig from the podium.
What keeps him young? “Keep dancing every day and don’t stop moving,” he answered.
(Pictured: Prince Albert II of Monaco, Conan O’Brien and Dick Van Dyke on stage at the Princess Grace Awards gala)