Transcript The Lion in Winter

Thank you so much, it means the world to me, to get this award from my peers. I adore what I do, I think it's the most wonderful profession in the world, and I want to share it with my collaborators, every single one of them, on the amazing experience that was "Lion in Winter."

It was daunting taking on a role, word-for-word, that was made iconic by the great Katharine Hepburn, who won an Oscar for it. But I have to tell you a story very quickly. When I was a senior in college at William and Mary, I was painting scenery backstage, and the Dick Cavett interview with Hepburn, the only time she was ever on television, happened to be playing.

And so I knew that I had wanted to be an actress, but something happened to be that night watching her. And I said to myself, "If that's who you want to be, do it!" And the next day I went to the office of the head of the theater department, I asked to be nominated for a series of national auditions. I ended up that fall with my first job as an understudy on Broadway.

And later, when Hepburn was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors, I was one of the group of artists that helped celebrate her. And she came back stage, which was very rare, and I was coerced into telling her this story. And so I kind of stuttered it, you know, about she had had a real impact, and was the reason why I got my first job.

And days later, I received this letter, which hangs on a wall in my house, in a place of honor. And what she wrote to me was this: "I'm glad I persuaded you when you were a mere child to join this terrible profession, this terrifying profession, and let's face it, this delicious way to spend your life."

Thank you very much.