Transcript Leaving Las Vegas

Thank you very much. I hope that doesn’t fall down. (Statue)

I wanted to talk a little bit about the fact that when I was fifteen years old, I’ll never forget going into the new Beverly Cinema and seeing James Dean in East of Eden for the first time trying to give Raymond Massey, who played his Dad, the money he made from the Massey and refusing to accept it. I was heart broken. I empathized. It was like a medium to me at that age. And, it was at that moment I knew I wanted to be an actor.

No song, sculpture, painting, concert ever affected me as much as that. And how many of us can mark periods in our lives the memories of great performances such as: Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera, Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, and Betty Davis in All about Eve, and Jack Nicholson in One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. How many great performers are still out there struggling, dying for their craft. I respect all of them. I respect all of you.

I didn’t go to college. This is my university and I’m going to have to consider this award to be my degree.

I’m honored to accept it. Thank you. Let me thank my beautiful wife, my mother and my grandmother. Thank you very much. [Applause]