Judith Light Receiving Special Tony Award for LGBTQ, HIV Activism

The "Transparent" star calls the HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ communities her "inspirations."

When it comes to philanthropy, Judith Light is the boss.

An Emmy-winning television icon best known for the ’80s sitcom Who’s the Boss?, Light, 70, later earned Tonys for her performances in The Assembled Parties and Other Desert Cities

The Broadway veteran will now receive the Tony Awards’ 2019 Isabelle Stevenson Award, presented to theater community members in recognition of their humanitarian contributions, Playbill reports.

Light’s honor acknowledges her tireless advocacy for LGBTQ rights and the fight against HIV/AIDS, from her involvement with the AIDS Memorial Quilt to her continued work with organizations such as GLAAD, HRC, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

“The HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities are inspirations and demonstrations of how to be and live in the world; courageous, honorable, and uplifting,” says Light in a statement. “They inspire me and it is my privilege to be of service to them. I am humbled by this recognition from my theater family, whom I so respect, honor, and love.”

Light’s activism began in earnest when she played the mother of Ryan White, a poster child for the AIDS crisis, in the 1989 TV movie The Ryan White Story.

“I felt I had a responsibility,” she told The Advocate in 2015. “When I met my manager, Herb Hamsher, in 1979, I’d been teetering on leaving the business. I was doing One Life to Live, and I thought, What difference is my life making? I told Herb, ’If I ever get any notoriety, I need to find a way to make a difference.’ Certainly, he and his partner, Jonathan, have guided my career in a remarkable way. Whether I’m involved with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS while doing a play or working with Project Angel Food when I’m shooting in Los Angeles, it’s always been about where I can do the most good.”

Light stars as Shelly Pfefferman, the ex-wife of a trans woman, in the Amazon streaming series Transparent, which returns this fall for a musical finale.

Her other TV credits include Ugly Betty, Dallas, and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

The 73rd Annual Tony Awards will be held June 9 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and broadcast live on CBS.

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