Actor Kirk Douglas was honored at the Shoah Foundation dinner, which featured Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.
The three-hour event and show on Oct. 22 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles benefited the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute.
Famed director Steven Spielberg, who established the foundation following the triumph of his movie “Schindler’s List,” and USC President Steven Sample spoke of the unique collection of video testimonies by 52,000 Holocaust survivors.
“There were Six Million who left their foot prints in the ashes,” Spielberg said. “On our watch, these footprints will never blow away.”
Douglas, 91, received the Ambassadors for Humanity Award and praise from Spielberg as “a great American, a great Jew, who stands up for what he believes in.” Crystal’s admiration was for “the greatest head of hair I’ve seen on a Jew.”
Accepting his laurels, Douglas said, “If my wife, Anne, ever leaves me, I’m going to marry Steven’s mother, so I’ll have a rich son-in-law to take care of me in my old age.”
Among the some 600 guests were the extended Douglas family, though son Michael was shooting a film in New York, actors Tobey Maguire and Debbie Allen, singer Eric Benet, producer J.J. Abrams and former studio head Sid Sheinberg.
Crystal had a beef with Spielberg: Why, the comedian asked, was there never a part for him in a Spielberg movie? Couldn’t he have changed the title of “Jaws” to “Jews”? Or how about a juicy part in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Beth Shalom” or “Saving Private Mishkin”?