Since its founding, the FPA has honored individuals from both the arts, sciences, politics and other fields. Honorees have included: Albert Einstein, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Kissinger, and Walter Cronkite.
In 1947 the FPA gave a special Peace Award to Professor Albert Einstein.
The talent of Edward Albee was recognized by the FPA while he was still struggling for recognition as a playwright. In June 1961 he won the FPA’s Best American Play Award for his two one-act plays The American Dream and The Death of Bessie Smith. Albee was aged 23.
In 1963 he won the award again, this time for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. On accepting the award, Albee confessed he was not keen to see the play made into a film, which was later most successfully done with the stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (see below).
At the same ceremony in June 1961, Billy Wilder was awarded Best American Motion Picture for directing The Apartment starring Jack Lemon and Shirley MacLaine.
In 1962 Tennessee Williams won the Foreign Press Award for Best American Play for The Night of the Iguana.
Also in 1962 Kramer won the Best American Motion Picture Award for directing Judgment at Nuremburg starring Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift and Marlene Dietrich.
Lean won the FPA’s Best American Motion Picture Award in 1963 for directing Lawrence of Arabia.
The film version of Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf won two FPA awards – one for Nichols as Best American Director of the film, and one for Elizabeth Taylor for Best American Actress for 1966.
Dr Henry A. Kissinger, Special Adviser to President Nixon, accepted the FPA Special Award in 1973. It was given “for his understanding and clarity in communicating to the world press the story of the complexity of the Vietnam negotiations.
Cronkite, the venerated anchor for CBS News, was presented with the FPA’s International Press Award and Certificate of Honor on April 30, 1976.
Former Ambassador and Governor of New York, W. Averell Harriman accepted the FPA Award for Sterling Service to Humanity at the Gala 65th Anniversary on October 25, 1983.
Louis Weintraub, Eleanor FitzSimons, Edward J. Gerrity, Jr Weintraub, the FPA’s Press Secretary, and his colleague Eleanor FitzSimons, were each awarded a Distinguished Service Award for their work in helping to organize the 65th Anniversary luncheon. Gerrity, senior vice president of ITT Corporation, was honorary chairman of the luncheon and also received a Distinguished Service Award.