Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, congratulates Steven Spielberg, recipient of the ADL’s America’s Democratic Legacy Award.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, congratulates Steven Spielberg, recipient of the ADL's America's Democratic Legacy Award. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

In recognition of his advocacy for Jewish causes and his Oscar-winning contributions to the entertainment industry, filmmaker Steven Spielberg received the America's Democratic Legacy Award from the Anti-Defamation League. The organization's annual fund-raising gala in December drew 1,100 guests to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where Spielberg was lauded as a director, humanitarian and philanthropist. "Steven, you could have just been a person of integrity and valor. You could have just been a captain of industry. It would have been enough," Adl National Director Abraham H. Foxman said. "But it was not enough. With success upon success, you took the time to make a difference. You took the time to care."

In his acceptance speech, the director of the 1994 epic "Schindler's List" noted that memory is essential to survival and to justice. "All it takes is the right story at the right moment, one true story, to make the world think," he said. "Telling stories is a way of bearing witness against injustice."

The evening included tributes by actors Drew Barrymore ("ET") and Richard Dreyfuss ("Close Encounters of the Third Kind"), and a prayer by Kirk Douglas, who was celebrating his 93rd birthday. The event raised $2 millino for the ADL, a preeminent civil rights and human relations organization.