|AFTRA will honor legendary Motown recording artist Smokey Robinson and others at its annual awards ceremony.|
For five decades, music lovers have sung, danced and rocked to the tunes of Smokey Robinson. The list of his songs reads like a history of rhythm and blues. He sang or wrote such hits as “Shop Around”—Motown’s first number one hit—and such favorites as “Who’s Loving You,” “My Guy,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do” and “My Girl.”
Now Robinson, the man Bob Dylan proclaimed as America’s “greatest living poet,” will be honored for his lifetime achievement by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ (AFTRA’s) Foundation during its Media and Entertainment Excellence (AMEE) Awards ceremony on March 9.
Along with Robinson, AFTRA will honor broadcaster Vin Scully, actress Jeanne Cooper and the late Don LaFontaine, a voice-over artist. The AMEE awards recognize members of the union who have made a significant contribution to American culture.
AFTRA Foundation President Shelby Scott says:
The AFTRA Foundation is proud to honor AFTRA members Smokey Robinson, Vin Scully, Jeanne Cooper, and Don LaFontaine for their lifetime of achievements that have entertained and informed audiences around the world.
Scully, who has broadcast Los Angeles Dodgers games for 60 years, recently was dubbed as “baseball’s all-time best broadcaster.” During his career, he has described the heroics of some of the greatest players of the second half of the 20th century. He brought to life for radio listeners the exploits of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, as well as the world championship seasons of 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988. In 1982, he was inducted into the Broadcaster’s wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and in 1995, joined the Radio Hall of Fame.
Cooper recently celebrated 35 years playing the role of Katherine Chancellor on the popular daytime television soap opera, “The Young and the Restless.” As the longest-running cast member on the show, Jeanne has garnered nine Daytime Emmy nominations, receiving her first Daytime Emmy Award in 2008. In 2004, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmy Awards.
LaFontaine, who died last September, will be posthumously presented with a special AMEE Tribute Award. A longtime AFTRA member, he was the voice of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN, TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network. He was the in-show announcer for the Academy Awards and his unmistakable voice has been heard in hundreds of thousands of movie trailers, radio spots and TV commercials.
Says AFTRA President Roberta Reardon:
Don will be fondly remembered by all of us who understand and appreciate that performers behind-the-camera give life and color to the stories onscreen. He was both busy and prolific during his 40-year career, and he always had time and a kind word for his fellow union members. He always supported his union. He will never be forgotten.
Last year, AFTRA awarded AMEEs to journalist Sam Donaldson, actress Susan Lucci and vocalist Maureen McGovern. Other previous winners include “60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt and his team of CBS on-air journalists; Cedric The Entertainer; Willard Scott; Roberta Flack; Bob Edwards; Don Hastings; Susan Flannery; Amber Tamblyn; Patti Austin; and Robert Hager.
Click here for more information on the AFTRA Foundation and the 2009 AMEE Awards.