Elton John, Lionel Richie and Colin Farrell praised Whoopi Goldberg’s work in the fight against AIDS as she was honoured with the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award on Thursday (01Dec16).
The Ghost star was surprised with a celebrity-filled video tribute during an episode of her U.S. talk show The View on World AIDS Day, and she was moved to tears as her famous friends and fellow activists celebrated her longstanding support for the cause, through the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF).
Irish actor Colin, a close friend of the late Elizabeth Taylor and fellow ambassador for ETAF, kicked off the sweet footage by applauding Whoopi for taking up the battle against AIDS in the 1980s, “when the majority of the world chose to ignore it, chose to ignore those afflicted with it”.
Elizabeth Taylor’s grandson, Quinn Tivey, then expressed his gratitude for her continued philanthropy “on behalf of all of Elizabeth Taylor’s grandchildren”.
“Our grandmother treasured you and your friendship,” he continued. “You’ve called her your friend who never judged and who led with love, and we know she’d have said the same about you. The world needs people like you more than ever, so we can finally reach an AIDS-free generation. You have opened up your home and your heart to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, and we are forever grateful.”
Soul star Lionel admitted he had admired Whoopi for “many, many, many years” for being “one of those people that walk your talk (sic)”.
“You spoke up for voices that were silent, for people who were in need,” he gushed. “You’ve been at the forefront of the movements of the world. I am here to hug and kiss you, and to adore you… to tell you how much we love you, how much we appreciate you and your voice. God bless you, my dear.”
Sir Elton concluded the video tribute by revealing Whoopi had been selected as the recipient of the third annual Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award.
“I’m so glad to be a part of this surprise…!” he smiled. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than you, and it’s an honour to present you with the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award. I’m so proud of you and I know Elizabeth would be too. I love you, and congratulations!”
Four of Taylor’s grandchildren, including Quinn, then appeared in The View’s New York studio to present a tearful Whoopi with the accolade.
“It was a shock, shock, shock,” Whoopi later said of the surprise tribute and award as she closed the show. “But let us not forget: AIDS is not over. There are still young people, people of colour, white people, men and women who are still affected by it, and even though there’s lots of medication out there, we don’t have a cure and that’s what we want.”