Judith Light, the two-time Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress, will receive the Tonys’ honorary Isabelle Stevenson Award, the Tony Awards Administration Committee announced Friday.
The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Light will receive the award for her advocacy to end HIV/AIDS and for her support for LGBTQ+ and human rights.
“To be so generously acknowledged by The American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League and the Tony Awards, and to be included with these outstanding individuals who have received this honor before me, has been one of the most extraordinary gifts I have ever received in my life,” Light said in a statement. “The HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities are inspirations and demonstrations of how to be and live in the world; courageous, honorable, and uplifting. They inspire me and it is my privilege to be of service to them. I am humbled by this recognition from my theatre family, whom I so respect, honor, and love.”
Light won her previous Tony awards for her work in “Other Desert Cities” and “The Assembled Parties” in 2012 and 2013 respectively, becoming the first actress in decades to win consecutive Tonys. She’s also a two-time Daytime Emmy Award winner for her work in “One Life to Live” and has been nominated for four Prime Time Emmys for “Ugly Betty,” “Transparent” and “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.”
Since the early days of the AIDS pandemic, Light has reacted to the divisive response towards the LGTBQ+ community by speaking out and aligning herself with numerous organizations, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, GLAAD, NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Project Angel Food, and Elton John AIDS Foundation, among many others.
In 1993, Light spoke at the LGBT March in Washington. In 1995, Light rode her bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the California AIDS Ride to support HIV/AIDS Programs for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In 1996, she joined Elizabeth Taylor, who served as grand marshal, at the National Mall in Washington DC for the display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. In 1998, GLAAD recognized Light with the Vision Award for her dedication to fight HIV/AIDS alongside the LGBTQ+ community. Light traveled to South Africa for the AIDS walk to raise awareness for on the ground care in South Africa and research in the United States.
Countless times, Light has lent her voice at Outfest, the LGBTQ+-oriented film festival in Los Angeles, and she sits on the honorary board of Point Foundation, which is the National LGBTQ+ Scholarship Fund. She has participated in Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Gypsy of the Year competition and Broadway Bares.
“Judith is one of the most beloved members of our theatre community,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League and Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, said in a joint statement. “Her talent is as big as her heart and spirit – and her tireless commitment to HIV/AIDS organizations and to the LGBTQ community are unparalleled. We are honored to salute Judith at this year’s Tony Awards!”
Light was also recently seen in the film “Save Me,” written by her husband Robert Desiderio, in which Light produced and starred, and “The Ryan White Story,” both of which created conversations about prejudice and bigotry towards HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities.
Light will next be seen with Alec Baldwin and Mandy Patinkin in “Before You Know It,” which premiered at Sundance and was picked up by distributor 1091. She’ll also be seen in “Ms. White Light,” which premiered at SXSW, and Lifetime’s “Nellie Bly” with Christina Ricci. Upcoming, Light also has the film “Hot Air” with Steve Coogan.
The American Theatre Wing’s 73rd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air on CBS on Sunday, June 9, 2019 live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Nominations for the 2019 awards will be announced live by Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon on Tuesday, April 30.