My favorite moment at the 2003 Academy Award show was when actor Adrien Brody (1973-) raced to the stage for his Best Actor Oscar, grabbed presenter Halle Berry, and planted a passionate kiss.
Now, that's entertainment.
"If you ever have an excuse to do something like that, that's it," Brody joked backstage. "I took my shot."
Brody won for "the role of a lifetime" as noted Jewish pianist Waldyslaw Szpilman, The Pianist who survived World War II by hiding in the Warsaw ghetto. For the film, Brody learned to play the piano and lost 30 pounds. At 29, he became the youngest best actor winner.
"This film would not be possible without the blueprint provided by Wladyslaw Szpilman," Brody said. "This film is a tribute to his survival."
Born on this day in New York City, the actor was the only child of Hungarian-born photojournalist Sylvia Plachy. Describing his childhood as "nurturing," Brody attended both the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the High School for the Performing Arts.
From his 1988 television debut in the PBS drama Home at Last to roles in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam (1999, w/Mira Sorvino) and Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights (1999), Brody has shone as a favorite of critics.
"I strive to find material that I will grow from, that will inspire me or educate me about some social issue that I don't know enough about, or that I do know about, but I want to learn more, about struggles that I haven't had to endure," he explained. "And that gives you a greater understanding of the suffering that exists in the world, and also the joy that exists in the world."
You rise by helping others.