The fact that they costarred in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies is not the only thing that connects actors Tom Hanks and Alan Alda. Tom, 62, also presented Alan, 83, with this year’s SAG Life Achievement Award during the annual award show on Sunday, January 27.
“And now, it is my pleasure to present the SAG Life Achievement Award to my friend — our friend — Alan Alda,” Tom told the star-studded audience before welcoming the prolific actor on-stage to accept his special honor. “Oh my God!” Alan said as he was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd. “You know, it’s really hard to describe to you what it feels like to look out and see my fellow actors, my colleagues, my heroes, to welcome me up here like this. It’s an extraordinary feeling.”
Alan then thanked his good friend Tom for presenting him with the coveted award. “And Tom, thank you so much — you killed!” he joked. “The thing is, this comes at a time when I’ve had a chance to look back at my life and to think about what it’s meant to be an actor. And I see, more than ever now, how proud I am to be a member of our brotherhood and sisterhood of actors.”
Alan continued, “When we get a chance to act, it’s our job — at least in part — to get inside a character’s head and to search for a way to see a life from that person’s point of view. Another person’s vision of the world. And then to let an audience experience that. It may never have been more urgent to see the world through another person’s eyes than when a culture is divided so sharply. Actors can help, at least a little, just by doing what we do. And the nice part is, it’s fun to do it. So my wish for all of us is, let’s stay playful, let’s have fun and let’s keep searching. It can’t solve everything — but it wouldn’t hurt. I share this with everybody in the room, thank you so much.”
What’s so special about Tom and Alan’s SAG Awards pairing is that both actors happen to be considered a pair of the nicest guys in Hollywood. Seriously. Ask anyone. “I guess it’s a counterbalance,” Alan joked to the Associated Press in early January. “To the rowdy reputation that a lot of actors have had over the last couple of hundred years, including the guy who shot Lincoln. So it’s good to balance the reputations of the acting profession.”
Alan, of course, is undoubtedly best known for his role of Hawkeye Pierce as well as his writing and directing efforts on the long-running dramedy MASH (the co-stars of which he will soon be reuniting with on his own podcast). He is currently waging a battle against Parkinson’s Disease, as he revealed last year — not that you’d suspect it from his activity level. In between, though, he has accomplished so much, only partially signified by the fact that he’s taken home six Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, three Directors Guild of America Awards, and a Drama Desk Award, among others. And now there is the SAG Life Achievement Award, of which he commented to AP, “I’m so thrilled that Tom agreed to that. I had no idea they were even asking him. And it’s so generous of him.”
But that’s Tom, who first came to our attention on the cross-dressing television series Bosom Buddies before he segued to the big screen with Splash and Bachelor Party, which was only the beginning of a career that has spanned over 40 years. Along the way, he took home Best Oscar actors for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, and Golden Globes for Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Castaway.
Congrats on your SAG Life Achievement Award, Alan!