TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) together have awarded their first-ever distinguished presidential citation lifetime achievement award to actor and bon vivant George Hamilton for his contributions in the area of skin cancer and its repair.
During the Academy's 64th Annual Meeting in Tampa Bay, Dr. Jackson Dickerman, president of the AADA, presented Hamilton with the prize, accompanied by a touching tribute.
"Mr. Hamilton," said Dr. Dickerman, "you aren't just the first recipient of this award; it was created for you; it is named after you. In the future, the Hamilton Prize, as it will be called, will be awarded as notable candidates arise who have done the most to further the work of dermatologists and aesthetic surgeons around the world.
"While you have appeared in numerous classic 'George Hamilton' films, you still are, perhaps, more noted for your perpetual suntan and your colorful private life than any one of these motion pictures. That tan, along with that magnetic pearly white smile and the string of pretty girls hanging from your arm, have done more for us, our industry, than the Marlboro Man ever did for Philip Morris -- and we never put up a penny! Thank you, Mr. Hamilton!
"Having appeared in films since 1952 and made regular appearances on television and live theater throughout that time, you, George Hamilton, with your radiant tan have been an ambassador at large for that golden glow that UV light exposure brings. And having done so without ever having had a single publicized episode of basal cell carcinoma or single apparent skin graft is astounding, if not miraculous! Our hats are off to you, Mr. Hamilton!
"While it's hard to quantify the impact that you have had on the work of our academy's associates, one estimate by researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara is that you, along with the Baywatch cast, increased our business by five to eight percent each year. But, beyond that, your portrait lights up more waiting rooms than that of any other, perhaps with the exception of Pamela Anderson, and brought many a smile to our faces on gray and cloudy days.
"While I have admired all your work on both big and small screen, I have a special fondness for the period when you were a semi-regular panelist on the 1998 revival of Match Game.
And in 2006 I think all of us in this room cheered you, dashing and debonair, as you competed in ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," even as you were voted off, unjustly I might add, in the sixth round. At age 66, and recovering from multiple knee injuries, while you may have been unable to match the limber dance moves of the younger co-stars, you nevertheless charmed both the crowd, the judges and us. Your endearingly and fancifully silly dances utilizing props, including a mask and sword from your classic 1981 film Zorro, The Gay Blade, left us all chuckling for days. Thank you, again, Mr. Hamilton!
"Although, Mr. Hamilton, you never won the Academy Award® you so richly deserve, we hope that this award, our academy's highest, will in some way compensate," said Dr. Dickerman in closing, as he handed Hamilton his 'Hamilton.'
The award itself, a gold-plated replica of a tanning bed, was presented to a rousing standing ovation by the attending dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
CORRECTION: Last week's story referring to George Hamilton confounded George Hamilton the actor and TV personality who was born 1939 with George Hamilton IV the country music performer who was born in 1937. George Hamilton the actor does not have "snuff stained skin the color of tobacco juice;" it is more accurately described as the "color of well worn camel hide smudged with rouge." And George Hamilton IV is not the "laughingstock of Hollywood;" he lives in Franklin, Tennessee. The Salguod Report offers its sincere apologies to both Mr. Hamiltons.
Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod