Tom Hanks was honoured by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity at the New York Public Library this week – only to remember he owed a couple of books at the library.
The actor said on the red carpet: "I've got to turn them in from 1977.”
Accompanied by his wife Rita Wilson, Hanks joked that when he got the call, he responded, "No, this is the Hanks house," followed by "really" and "why?"
But Hanks’ “consistent thoughtfulness and concern with his charitable endeavours” earned him the honour.
He holds it higher than any acting accolades, but also realizes that the two are connected.
"I have this instinctive thing that I do that's turned into a pretty good career and it puts me out in the public eye in a certain way,” Hanks explained. “Along with that comes a massive amount of pluses that I certainly never imagined would be possible, and if it wasn't for that, we couldn't give the support that we give.
"I'm proud of the work that I do. We work very hard in a business that deserves and earns every bit of ridicule we heap upon it, but at the end of the day you got to wake up in the morning and try to make the world a better place. That's the way I was raised.
“That's what my mom and dad and all the caregivers that I've ever had kept pounding into me - that we're Americans and Americans take into account the common good, so in that regard I feel very lucky and very blessed that I've been able to do that.”