North Star Award: 'Blues' Man Saluted For Body of Work

4/14/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

Ruben Santiago-Hudson has received praise and prizes for his work on stage as well as on screens, large and small. Now, he will receive NAMIC's North Star Award, presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to promoting ethnic and cultural diversity.

Santiago-Hudson was recently honored with the 2005 Humanitas Prize for his screenplay for Home Box Office's dramatic film Lackawanna Blues.

It was Lackawanna Blues, the semi-autobiographical story about the woman who raised him, that actually launched Santiago-Hudson's writing career. Lackawanna Blues premiered off-Broadway in 2001 as a one-man show, in which the actor/playwright portrayed as many as 20 different characters that enriched his life growing up in an upstate New York town.

In 2005, the play was turned into a Home Box Office movie, executive-produced by Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry. The film, in which Santiago-Hudson starred alongside S. Epatha Merkerson (who won a Golden Globe Award for her role as his “Nanny” in the movie), Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits and Mos Def, is up for a NAMIC Vision Award for best drama.

But Santiago-Hudson's career isn't defined solely by his Lackawanna Blues efforts. He received the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Performer in African-American playwright August Wilson's acclaimed Seven Guitars. He's also starred on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam, and off-Broadway in productions such as A Soldier's Play.

On camera, Santiago-Hudson's dossier includes appearances in the movies The Devil's Advocate and Shaft, as well as television productions such as the ABC miniseries Their Eyes Were Watching God, opposite Berry.

“Ruben Santiago-Hudson is one of the most revered and respected members of the entertainment industry,” said NAMIC executive vice president Kathy Johnson. “A Tony Award-winning actor, Ruben's many career achievements on stage and screen are an inspiration to people of all colors and ethnicities.

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