A star-studded guest list came to the Apollo Theater on Sunday night to celebrate the life and work of Alec Baldwin. The actor even got a visit from the president.
OK, not that president, but rather Bill Clinton, who took to the stage for Spike TV’s tribute, “One Night Only: Alec Baldwin.” Clinton joined the likes of Robert De Niro, Jane Krakowski, Julianne Moore, Tracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer to roast Baldwin, the star of the animated movie “The Boss Baby,” but whose biggest role in recent months has been playing President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”
I wouldn’t know an alternative fact if it hit me in the face. But I do know this: I first met Alec Baldwin more than 20 years ago. Even before that, I was a huge fan and admirer of his work in the movies and tonight we’ve been reminded of the astonishing range of his career, with highlights that include his Tony-nominated performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” his Oscar-nominated portrayal in “The Cooler,” his monologue in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and his great roles on “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live.”
“But what I love most is his story. And my most enduring memory of all the conversations we ever had is the first time I came to his home for an event and he told me his story,” Clinton continued. “A great American story of a boy growing up in an Irish-Catholic family. […] ‘We didn’t have a lot of money, but they [my parents] taught me that every person has an obligation to be a good and caring citizen.’ I never forgot it.”
“He was making movies in his backyard at age 5.” Clinton said. “In elementary school, he was already running for president, or something. […] He ended up going to George Washington University, ran for student-body president and came back home to New York, where he followed the then-classic path, from politics to the soap operas.”
The line drew a hearty laugh from the audience. Clinton wrapped up by saying he knows what makes Baldwin both a great actor and a great person: “He has a genuine interest in other people. When you look at the sweep of his career, you see a man with enormous talent and a heart just as big.”
“One Night Only: Alec Baldwin” will air on Spike TV on July 9 at 9 p.m. ET.