Year: 1981 (54th) Academy Awards
Category: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Winner: Danny Kaye
Presenter: Gregory Peck
Date & Venue: March 29, 1982; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
I was a young man comparatively when I came here tonight. I am really terribly excited to be given this great honor. And I'm so delighted that I find myself, as we say, trembling. If I were any more delighted I think I'd be in an institution.
However, I feel a little bit guilty about all the praise that Greg lavished on me. It was really no hardship at all. Really. I am crazy about children, I am crazy about conducting, and I'm crazy about flying. I am definitely not crazy about disease or famine or neglect, but then neither are any of you. And we, all of us in our profession, share a long and wonderful tradition of doing something about it, of giving of our time and our talent wherever and whenever it's needed, without prejudice, without stint. That's one of the reasons that I'm so very, very proud of our profession and so proud to be one of you. I share this award with you, with all of you.
And I give thanks to the memory of Dag Hammarskjöld and Maurice Pate with whom I started to work for UNICEF about twenty-eight years ago. And to Gene Ormandy, who put a baton in my hand, my little nervous hand, and made me an offer I couldn't refuse: to stand in front of a symphony orchestra and conduct. Wow, that's the greatest feeling of neurotic power in the world. You ought to try that. My very special thanks to the Board of Governors. I love this and I love you. Thank you.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]