×

Hepburn, Taylor get Hersholt

For the first time in Academy history, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be awarded to two people–actresses Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor.

Hepburn and Taylor are the 26th and 27th recipients of the award, which recognizes individuals in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.

They are only the third and fourth women to receive the honor. In 1968, Martha Raye was voted the award and Rosalind Russell received it in 1972.

In making the announcement of the paired awards, Academy president Robert Rehme said, “I don’t know that this will ever happen again. Many years we don’t even find one appropriate candidate for the award. This year, the board just found itself looking at proposals on behalf of two magnificent women who both so clearly deserved this honor that it didn’t seem possible to make a choice. So we didn’t.”

This is Hepburn’s second Oscar; in 1953, she received the leading actress award for her performance in “Roman Holiday.” It’s the third for Taylor, following awards for “Butterfield 8” in 1960 and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” in 1966. Each has been nominated five times for best actress.

Popular on Variety

Hepburn has appeared in 27 films, including “Sabrina,””War and Peace,””The Nun’s Story,””Breakfast at Tiffany’s,””Charade,””My Fair Lady” and “Wait Until Dark.”

For many years, Hepburn has served as UNICEF’s Ambassador to the World’s Children, calling attention to the plight of millions of Third World children.

Hepburn lives in Switzerland, where she’s battling cancer.

Hepburn’s health

Asked about her attendance at the awards, an Academy spokesman said, “We hope her health is fine and we’re looking forward to her being here to accept the award.”

As for contingency plans for giving the award to Hepburn if she is unable to attend, the spokesman said, “It hasn’t been discussed yet.”

Taylor, whose film career began in 1942, has appeared in 51 films. Highlights of her career include “Lassie Come Home,””National Velvet,””Father of the Bride, “”Giant,””Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Reflections in a Golden Eye.”

Since 1985, Taylor has pledged her time and energies to speak out on the AIDS crisis. She is the founding national chairman of AmFAR and is the organization’s leading fund-raiser. She also has established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which focuses on AIDS care as distinct from research.

The French government has honored Taylor with its Legion of Honor in recognition of her work with AIDS.

More Film

  • Jeremy Renner

    John Ottman Hosts Jeremy Renner, Michael Keaton, More at 'Aiding Australia' Benefit

    Film editor and composer John Ottman, who won an Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2019, hosted members of the film, television and music communities at the “Aiding Australia” charity dinner and concert held at his West Hollywood home on Sunday evening (Feb. 23). The benefit raised funds to help in the recovery of fire-ravaged Australia, [...]

  • Eric Bana The Dry

    Film News Roundup: Eric Bana Boards 'Mike the Bike' Motorcycle Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Eric Bana and Melissa Leo launch movie projects, Paradigm names four agents, Michael B. Jordan is being honored and Hilary Swank’s “Fatale” gets a release date. PROJECT LAUNCHES Eric Bana’s Pick Up Truck Pictures and Robert Connolly’s Arenamedia have secured rights to the “Mike the Bike” motorcycle story. Bana will [...]

  • A still from Miles Davis: Birth

    Film Editor Lewis Erskine on Finding the Rhythm for Miles Davis Doc 'Birth of the Cool'

    On-the-beat editing for the documentary “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” comes courtesy of Lewis Erskine who brings rhythm to the images apace with that perfect flow of the jazz icon’s horn. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 and earned a nomination at the NAACP’s 2020 Image Awards for outstanding documentary [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    European Industry Buoyed by Weinstein Verdict: 'Things Have Irrevocably Changed'

    Global film and TV executives, including “Elizabeth” producer Alison Owen and “Shakespeare in Love” producer David Parfitt, have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein’s guilty verdict, calling it a “seismic” victory that will bring about immutable change. Monday’s long-awaited outcome to the U.S. trial, which saw Weinstein convicted of sexual assault and third-degree rape, has been [...]

  • Kevin Hart'Jumanji: The Next Level' film

    Kevin Hart to Star in Action-Comedy From 'Broad City' Alums (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is developing an untitled action-comedy based on an original idea from “Broad City’s” Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs with Kevin Hart attached to star. Aniello and Downs will write the script as well as executive produce. Malcolm D. Lee is on board to direct the film with Will Packer and James Lopez [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content