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Halle Berry, Richard Gere To Receive Pudding Pot

By Lulu Zhou, Crimson Staff Writer

Richard Gere, the star of “Pretty Woman,” and Halle Berry, a longtime favorite for prettiest woman in the world, were named Man and Woman of the Year today by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.

Berry, an Oscar-winning actress and star of the “X-Men” trilogy, will be presented with the campus theater group’s Pudding Pot on Feb. 16. Gere, who won a Golden Globe for his leading role in “Chicago,” will receive the Pot on Feb. 24. Established in 1951, the annual awards honor performers who have made a “lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.”

With the Hasty Pudding’s Holyoke St. theater under renovations this year, Berry will instead parade through Cambridge to the Agassiz Theatre, where she will be roasted and treated to a preview show of the club’s 158th original musical, “Some Like It Yacht.” Gere will be honored at the Zero Arrow St. Theatre.

“I’m looking forward to being publicly humiliated... Harvard style,” Gere said in a statement today.

The recipients of the Pudding Pot were selected by the organization’s six-member executive board.

“One of the biggest factors is whether [they are] considered an entertainment icon,” said Mary Kate A. Burke ’06, who is one of the show’s two producers and a board member. “These two celebrities definitely fit our criteria.”

Berry was the first African American to win an Academy Award for best actress, earning the nod for her 2001 role in “Moster’s Ball.” In 2003, she starred in “Gothika,” alongside 2004 Man of the Year Robert Downey Jr.

Berry, a former Bond girl and first runner-up for Miss USA in 1986, has been named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” a record nine times.

“My girlfriend who has graduated will probably be jealous,” said Hasty Pudding President John P. Blickstead ‘06, who will be roasting Berry along with Peter A. Dodd ‘06, a vice president of the club.

Gere’s prolific acting career spans three decades, with leading roles in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982), “Pretty Woman” (1990), and “Primal Fear” (1996), among other films.

In 2002, Gere starred in “Chicago,” singing and dancing his way to a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy. “Chicago” also featured 2005 Woman of the Year Catherine Zeta-Jones.

“He’s been in movies that people remember,” Blickstead said of Gere. “He’s been a lasting celebrity.”

In addition to acting and producing, Gere is also an accomplished pianist and humanitarian. He co-founded the Tibet House, a nonprofit organization committed to preserving Tibetan culture. A supporter of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan autonomy, Gere is a practicing Buddhist and founder of the Gere Foundation, which aspires to “assist the cultural survival of the Tibetan people through health, technological and educational projects,” according to the organization’s website.

Gere will be roasted by Burke and her co-producer, Ashley A. Zalta ‘07.

This year’s Hasty Pudding performance, “Some Like It Yacht,” is a “zany adventure” set aboard a cruise ship, Dodd said. The show will follow the ship’s embattled crew as they fight to stave off an impending iceberg collision and hijacking by a child starlet, whom Dodd described as “a Shirley Temple gone very, very wrong.”

The route for the Woman of the Year procession will be slightly truncated this year. Berry will parade across most of Mass. Ave, from the Inn at Harvard to the Harvard Square T-stop, Burke said.

—Staff writer Lulu Zhou can be reached at luluzhou@fas.harvard.edu.

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