It’s Jack’s turn.
Outfest has tapped Emmy-winning actor and producer Sean Hayes — revered for his work as Jack McFarland on NBC’s Will & Grace — to receive the Trailblazer Award at the organization’s Legacy Awards on Oct. 23. Hayes joins fellow event honorees Transparent creator Jill Soloway and cable network Freeform.
According to the organization, Hayes was selected for the prize “in recognition of his exemplary career as a stage, film, television, and recording artist and for his longtime, passionate support of the LGBT community. As one of this generation’s most visible and beloved LGBT performers, he has played a key role in the community’s progress and empowerment.” Also mentioned is Hayes’ distinction as the first actor to receive an Emmy for playing a gay character.
Said Outfest executive director Christopher Racster: “Sean Hayes portrayal of Jack on NBC’s Will & Grace took the stereotypical gay sissy and made him human, loveable, flawed and real. Will & Grace first went on the air in 1998 long before it was ‘cool’ or politically correct to have a show that placed LGBT characters front and center and treated them with respect. Jack lived in a land where it was ok to simply be Jack — open, honest, funny, and real.”
The 2016 Legacy Awards will be held at performing arts venue Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, with head chef Neal Fraser, of adjacent restaurant Redbird, returning to handle the menu. Merrill Lynch also is back on board as the presenting sponsor.
The Legacy Awards serve as a fundraiser to support the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year. Outfest and UCLA Film & Television Archive partnered in 2005 to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to saving and preserving LGBT moving images. More information about the event can be found here.