NEW YORK — Tom Cruise was in Manhattan to collect an award, and, yes, promote a movie.
On Tuesday night, the actor received the fourth ever Friars Club Entertainment Icon Award, placing him in the same company as Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. The evening was a toast, not a roast. Alec Baldwin presided at the Waldorf-Astoria, where speakers included such former co-stars as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kevin Pollak. Robin Thicke and Corinne Rae Bailey were among the musical performers.
Many had stories about working with Cruise and his impact on them. Baldwin joked that any time he finds himself taking on too many tasks at once, he hums the theme from “Mission: Impossible.” Pollak, who appeared with Cruise in “A Few Good Men,” remembered being in awe of the “unusually large and perfect pen” Cruise used for marking his script. The actor soon had a pen sent to Pollak’s trailer, then sent him a second one when Pollak worried about losing the first.
The capper: Pollak still carries one of the pens with him and showed it off to the crowd.
Cruise said during his acceptance speech that his wife, actress Katie Holmes, was out of the country. But he did bring their 6-year-old daughter, Suri, who not only got to stay up late, but to take in an R-rated tribute in keeping with the Friars tradition of blue humor. Gooding cracked a couple of shower jokes, Pollak made some suggestive comments about the size of Cruise’s pen and when he made a reference to “banging,” he didn’t mean on a drum. A few f-bombs were dropped, notably a barrage on film by Cruise during a highlight reel of his career, a reel that featured Cruise kissing Cameron Diaz, Renee Zellweger and other leading ladies.
Numerous plugs were worked in for his latest movie, “Rock of Ages,” coming out Friday. Baldwin co-stars with Cruise and the ceremony included a performance by the cast of the Broadway musical on which the film is based.