LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - George Clooney on Sunday added another trophy to his Oscar, two Golden Globes and slew of movie critics awards -- but this one had nothing to do with acting.
Clooney was presented with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Primetime Emmy Awards for his work to raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur, and fund-raising efforts for causes ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the Haiti earthquake and the victims of the September 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington DC.
“It’s important to remember how much good can get done because we live in such strange times where bad behavior sucks up all of the attention and the press,” Clooney said as he accepted the award.
The actor said he hoped there were others who could step in and “help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heart-breaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away.”
Television Academy chairman John Shaffner said Clooney, 49, was “an obvious choice” for the humanitarian award because he had “understood and harnessed the power of television...to reach into the hearts of people around the world.”
Clooney, one of the most popular figures in Hollywood, was one of the main organizers of charity telethons for victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in August 2005.
He was appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2008 and in 2006 addressed the United Nations Security Council over the refugee crisis in Sudan’s conflict-torn western Darfur region, which has taken the lives of more than 300,000 people.
Backstage, Clooney talked about how the award differed from his previous accolades for acting and writing.
“It’s embarrassing because you don’t want to be awarded for doing what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “It’s a very kind thing, so you accept it. But it’s very hard to take.”
Clooney, who first found fame on television as the handsome Dr. Doug Ross in hospital drama “ER”, has never won a traditional Emmy Award, although he was nominated twice for his work in “ER” in 1995 and 1996.
He won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in the 2005 movie “Syriana”.
The Bob Hope Humanitarian Award was created in 2002 in memory of the late entertainer. Previous recipients include Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby.
Reporting by Zorianna Kit: Editing by Jill Serjeant