He for me was the north star of actors, him and Paul Newman, a movie star.
When he turned a hundred, Steven Spielberg said at his birthday celebration, he said, I've worked with the best people in the business, honestly the best, but I've only met one movie star in my entire life.
And that is Kirk Douglas because when Kirk Douglas is on the screen, I cannot look away.
Kirk also is an unbelievable philanthropist.
Many of you know what he does for the Motion Picture Television fund, what he and his wife does for homelessness, for women.
But to me, what always gets me is that at the height of his powers, during the McCarthy era, he risked everything and broke the strike, that was on the blacklist.
He broke the blacklist himself because it was wrong and he would stake everything he'd built to rewrite that.
So, receiving this award means the absolutely world to me.
Oh, by the way, I have to tell you, it's funny, Roger, that you said about me, the best is yet to come, because I immediately thought of Kirk who says that every time I've met him and even today at the age of 102, the best is yet to come.
There's a secret in that for living, right?
Patrick Weitzel, Patrick Weitzel has been my agent for 20 years.
He's here tonight.
And I'm going to tell you a story.
I said, Deb, I don't know how to sum up my 20-year friendship and working relationship with Patrick.
He said, yeah you do, tell him the story of when you first met and when you got X-Men.
I said, okay, I've never told this story before.
So, you heard a little bit from Jason that someone else got the part.
It was about a six-month process for me actually getting the part.
You know, the ending of the story, I get the part, right?
But what you don't know is that in those final two or three auditions, it was about a two-week period or a week, something like that.
We were in LA, Deb and I to actually start proceedings on adopting our child, Oscar.
And we were doing that in Los Angeles.
So, we'd flown in from Australia.
I was due to start a film 10 days from then.
The director of the film cast me in my first ever movie.
And he was doing another small movie and he asked me to be in it.
It wasn't a lead role; it was a small role.
Of course, I said, yes, there was no contract.
There wasn't a handshake.
You know, my mate says, we are making a movie, I said, yeah, great, I'll be in.
So, as all this was happening with X-Men and it was going further and further down the line, it was getting more and more serious.
We were doing deals in case I got the part, my new agent at the time, Patrick was only about six months.
And this was the first audition I'd had.
So, we'd never really been in the cold or another deal before.
I get the part and I ring and Patrick said, hey man, you got it.
And I was about to say, without knowing his response, I can't do the part because I've said to my mate, I'd be in his film.
And he starts in 10 days.
I didn't have to say that in the end, because Patrick said, I know you said you are going to be in the film.
And I want you to know, we're going to honor that agreement.
And I'll never forget this.