Thanks to his powerful performances in such seminal films as “Midnight Cowboy,” “Deliverance,” “Catch-22,” “Ali” and “Coming Home,” for which he won an Oscar, Jon Voight has long been an iconic part of the Hollywood landscape.
He recently starred in the seventh season of Fox serial drama “24” as villain Jonas Hodges and this week will receive CineVegas’ Marquee Award, recognizing his artistic excellence, professional accomplishment and dedication to cinema.
“I’m flattered and honored,” Voight says. “It’s a very interesting award to me, and I think my friend Dennis Hopper, who’s very prominent in the festival, was instrumental in organizing it. And as a huge fan of his, that’s even more flattering.”
Voight, who’s had a long and distinguished career as both a leading man and a character actor, got his start in the 1960s with small roles in such TV shows as “Gunsmoke” and “Cimarron Strip,” where his good looks and talent soon got him noticed. But it was his inspired turn as hustler Joe Black opposite Dustin Hoffman in 1969’s best picture winner “Midnight Cowboy” that really cemented his place in the Hollywood pantheon.
Quick to praise director John Schlesinger and his co-star for the film’s success — “Dustin was coming off a huge hit, ‘The Graduate,’ which helped get it financed” — he’s modest about his own contribution to the pic, while noting “Midnight Cowboy” “probably wouldn’t get made today, too risky.”
Looking back on his recent credits, which include such high-profile hits as “Mission: Impossible,” “Transformers,” the “National Treasure” franchise and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (where he played Lord Richard Croft opposite real-life daughter Angelina Jolie), he says he’s been “very fortunate. Not every film you pick will be successful, but I haven’t done too badly. I can live with the choices I’ve made, and I’ve done some pieces I’m very proud of. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some truly great people.”
One collaborator Voight holds in high regard is helmer Hal Ashby, with whom he made 1982’s “Looking’ to Get Out.” Voight co-wrote the film and starred in it with Ann-Margret. The film will be released on DVD next month.
As part of CineVegas, Voight will present the director’s cut of “Lookin’ to Get Out,” which, says Voight, “hardly anyone has ever seen. I’m thrilled about it.”