It was second day in a row that Curtis collected a unique honor in the thick of a red-hot revival moment in the wake of last year’s blockbuster Halloween revisit. An evening after collecting a Saturn Award for that film, Curtis received Project Angel Food’s Humanitarian Award as the organization celebrated 30 years of preparing and delivering healthy meals to those housebound to a wide variety of medical conditions.
On the red carpet, Curtis – now entering her 42nd year in the industry – told THR that she did not take her career longevity or her recently renewed frenzy of activity for granted. “I have a philosophy that is simply when you die, any creativity that you have inside you that you didn’t bring out dies with you,” she said. “The tragedy is not death itself – death is reality – but the creativity that lives inside us as creative people. As long as we’re alive, we need to bring it out. I want to make sure that when I go, whenever it is, that there’s not nothing that I have left in here that I wish I had brought out to the world, and so I am now bringing in all out.”
Curtis, who was joined at the dinner held in the glammed-up parking lot of Project Angel Food’s Vine Street headquarters by her husband Christopher Guest and their daughter Annie, marveled at the amount work currently on her plate.
“I am going to do a TV series for Blumhouse; I’m going to do two more ‘Halloween’ movies; I conceived another television series that we just sold to Fox – I am in a creative cyclone,” she revealed. “Now, I’m healthy and strong, but I’m 60. And I’ve raised my family, and now it’s time for me to make manifest creativity that has been inside me. The movie I wrote from Blumhouse, which is an eco-horror movie called ‘Mother Nature,’ I had the idea when 18 years old.”
Curtis credited her mother, Psycho actress Janet Leigh, for instilling in her a desire and a dedication to give back through her long commitment to the early, Hollywood embraced charity SHARE. But she also felt a personal connection to Project Angel Food that led her to accept this year’s honor, presented to her by “Will Grace” star Sean Hayes. It was a tie that led back to the organization’s earliest days, when it concentrated its efforts specifically on those affected with HIV/AIDS.
She recalled the actor Richard Frank, who co-starred alongside Curtis in the TV series “Anything But Love,” who died of complications of AIDS in 1995 at age 42. “Rick was an artist, and the thing that was so incredibly cruel about the age crisis is that it attacked young, creative people. The amount of creativity and art that was affected by this horrible disease was astonishing and he was an artist and a great man and a great actor. He was in ‘Amadeus,’ he was on Broadway in ‘Hamlet.’ He was fantastic.”
Unexpectedly, as Curtis was viewing a video of Project Angel Food’s history in preparation for this year’s event, she was stunned to spot a familiar face in the background. “In the first 20-30 seconds of that video, there was a picture of Marianne Williamson and a group of volunteers in 1989 and then it went into the kitchen and I said, ‘Wait, stop, go back!’ Standing next to Marianne Williamson was my friend Rick Frank. I had no idea. There he was healthy and beautiful, and he was here to lend help when it was the beginnings of it all.”
Curtis also singled out Project Angel Food founder, spiritual advisor and 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, whom the actress had not met until that evening but had led to a key moment of inspiration for Curtis. She read a poem written by Williamson called “Our Deepest Fear,” which Curtis said “shifted my consciousness, and I understood that life was short and we are here for something and I needed to own it and live it and love it and learn from it and deliver it, because that was my destiny.”
Williamson said seeing the organization she founded survive and thrive for three decades has been very gratifying for her. “It’s wonderful the way that community, the city, has continued to nurture it, to appreciate it, to celebrate it, to keep it alive,” she told THR. “Every year it’s an opportunity to remember those who are no longer with us, particularly those who worked so hard to get it started ultimately. But it’s also beautiful to see an organization that’s kind of like a virtual child: it grows up and has its own life, has its own relationships. It’s true there was a founding, but then there are other generations that if those people hadn’t kept it alive, they deserve as much credit for continuing it as I feel like I deserve for starting it.”
In terms of her presidential campaign, Williamson said she plans to continue forward in the same way she’s conducted her political bid, speaking to the need she sees for healing, kindness and unity. “I don’t know about the next phase,” she said. “I feel I’m in the midst of the only phase that there is, which is just reaching people, talking to people about going through a crisis in a way that will actually transform new experience…If we show up for each other, we’re very honest about what’s real, if we rise to the occasion, we will get through that and we will even be better.”
The evening, which featured performances by legendary Supremes singer and upcoming “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Mary Wilson, Sheryl Lee Ralph and “The Voice” standout Maelyn Jarmon. also paid tribute to Jami Morse Heidegger and Klaus Heidegger, philanthropists and skincare creationists of Retrouve and Kiehl’s, who received the Leadership Award from longtime friends Robert Kennedy, Jr., and Beverly Johnson. The starry attendees included Will Grace star Eric McCormack and his wife Janet, Jennifer Tilly, Pauley Perette, Nicolette Sheridan, Juan Pablo di Pace, Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry, writer and comedian Bruce Villanch, and KTLA’s Sam Rubin, Megan Henderson and Jessica Holmes, along with Danny Trejo, who’s burgeoning food empire catered the occasion.