The Icon Award, the club's highest honor, pays tribute to individuals whose accomplishments transcend their given industry by positively influencing the culture in which we live. The black-tie affair, which exalts more than lambastes, has occurred only seven times in the club’s history. The award has been bestowed upon Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Tony Bennett and most recently, Mexican telecommunications giant, Carlos Slim.
The most recent Icon Awards dinner at the Waldorf Astoria honored Robert De Niro and Carlos Slim together. The evening's entertainment was provided by Sting, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Frankie Valli, and Stevie Wonder. Warren Buffet sang a tribute to both De Niro and Slim in a duet with Paul Anka. The collective endowments of Slim’s charities, estimated at over $8 billion, have supported more than 165,000 students in attending schools, paid for numerous surgeries, provided equipment for rural educational institutions, and covered surety bonds for 50,000 people who were entitled to their freedom but unable to afford it.
Mr. De Niro was equally praised for his revitalization of TriBeCa after 9/11. Founding the TriBeCa Film Festival, and nurturing what is now a thriving food scene, was nothing less than a spirit renewal downtown. Heartfelt accolades flowed from co-stars Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel and Orlando Bloom, as well as directors Martin Scorsese, Penny Marshall, and David O. Russell. Magician David Blaine added a little wizardry to the evening's honors.