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JANUARY 19, 2013

By Taylor K. Vecsey from Easthampton Patch

On Thursday, Guild Hall announced its 28th annual Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards will honor John Alexander for Visual Arts, Walter Isaacson for Literary Arts, Nathan Lane for Performing Arts, and Melville (Mickey) Straus, who will receive the Special Award for Leadership and Philanthropy.

A benefit dinner will be held at The Plaza in New York City on March 4.

Marshall Brickman, the noted screenwriter, will be the Master of Ceremonies, and Ken Auletta, a journalist and media critic, the actor Alec Baldwin and Jack O’Brien, the director, will make special guest presentations.

“Since 1985, Guild Hall has celebrated the artistic endeavors of those in our community whose work and commitment consistently inspires us,” Ruth Appelhof, the executive director, said in a statement.

The honorees are elected by over 250 Academy members, which honors summer and year-round East End residents who have demonstrated excellence in the visual, literary, and performing arts.

Tony, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild award-winning, Lane recently starred in Chicago’s Goodman Theatre’s production of The Iceman Cometh opposite Brian Dennehy and has a recurring guest role on the CBS drama “The Good Wife.” Among his many accolades, Lane was acclaimed for his role in “The Producers” on Broadway. Lane has residences in New York City and East Hampton.

Alexander, who divides his time between New York City and Amagansett, has had a major retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. His work is included in the permanent collections of leading museums including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, just to name a few.

Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine, and has written several books, including “Steve Jobs,” and “Kissinger: A Biography.” Until 2012, he served as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he was appointed to by President Barack Obama.

Straus first joined Guild Hall’s board 20 years ago, and was named chair in 1995. He has helped raise $14 million for Guild Hall’s capital campaign to support the revitalization of the John Drew Theater, museum, Boots Lamb Education Center, administration offices, and gardens and helps curates the Hamptons Institute, which he founded. He and his wife Leila have hosted many Guidl Hall fundraisers at their East Hampton home.

Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Billy Joel, Elaine Stritch, Mel Brooks and Guild Hall board member Alec Baldwin for Performing Arts; Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, April Gornik, and Chuck Close for Visual Arts; Kurt Vonnegut, E. L. Doctorow, Edward Albee, and Joe Pintauro for Literary Arts; and Special Awards to Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Dina Merrill and Peter Jennings.

Tickets to the dinner, which begins at 6:30 p.m., can be purchased through Guild Hall’s Special Events Department at 631-324-0806. Funds raised go toward Guild Hall.

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