Prize…camera…action! All three are sure to be present at the Genesis Prize ceremony in Jersulem this year. The Genesis Prize Foundation announced yesterday that the Academy Award-winning actress will host the ceremony on June 23 honoring Itzhak Perlman, acclaimed violinist, educator, and champion of individuals with disabilities.
The Genesis Prize, a yearly $1 million award to an extraordinary individual who has achieved great professional, philanthropic, and cultural success, will be presented to Perlman by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now in its third year, the prize, dubbed the "Jewish Nobel" has been awarded to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2014) and Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas (2015). While winning the prize is a lofty accomplishment in itself, the fact that the proceedings will be emceed by Dame Helen Mirren can be nothing but music to Perlman's ears.
“We are honored that Dame Helen Mirren, an actress of such talent and accomplishment, will host the 2016 Genesis Prize ceremony and help us celebrate the extraordinary life and achievements of Itzhak Perlman,” said Stan Polovets, cofounder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “Dame Mirren has been an outspoken supporter of Israel, and we look forward to the elegance and grace she will bring to the ceremony.”
Perlman is no stranger to being honored for his great contributions to the arts and humanitarianism. The 16-time Grammy winner was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama on Nov. 25, 2015, and was also honored by former Presidents Reagan and Clinton, who presented him with the Medal of Liberty and the National Medal of Arts, in 1986 and 2000 respectively.
Mirren, boasting a wildly successful career spanning half a century, has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including her appointment as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for Services to the Performing Arts, an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and several Emmys. Mirren said in a statement that she is "honored and humbled to have been asked to host the 2016 Genesis Prize award ceremony honoring the extraordinary musician, educator, and activist for the disabled, Itzhak Perlman."
She also spoke of her love for Israel and its people. "Through my first visit to Israel I have came to love and admire the country and its people, and I continue to be inspired by the creative spark Israelis bring to all forms of art, including film and music," she said in a statement. "I am very excited to be returning to this great country."
It is an unofficial tradition for the winners to re-gift the prize money to charity. Perlman announced that he earmarked the funds to continue to support the two causes close to his heart (and ears): music and the disabled.