Before there were “ER” and “Gravity” for George Clooney, there were “Baby Talk” and “Return of the Killer Tomatoes!”
Every performer’s work has to start somewhere, even one who eventually gets the career-honoring Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Clooney becomes the latest recipient when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler return to host The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, as NBC televises the annual event Sunday (Jan. 11) from Beverly Hills’ (Calif.) Beverly Hilton Hotel.
A winner of three competitive Golden Globes — for the movies “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Syriana” (which also brought him an Oscar) and “The Descendants” — Clooney follows such other DeMille honorees of recent years as Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Named for the legendary filmmaker behind such epics as “The Ten Commandments” and “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the award salutes the efforts both on and off the screen of the person it’s given to. The ever-charismatic Clooney clearly has a track record to support that.
The son of former newscaster and AMC host Nick Clooney, and nephew of the late singer (and “White Christmas” co-star) Rosemary Clooney, started out on an Elliott Gould-starring CBS sitcom that happened to bear the name “E/R.” After that came stints on “The Facts of Life” (visible again in a new DVD set) and “Roseanne,” and guest shots on such shows as “Murder, She Wrote” and “The Golden Girls.”
Two series runs as police detectives — on “Bodies of Evidence” and, more notably, “Sisters” — built Clooney’s television appeal to the point where he was hired as skilled but roguish Dr. Doug Ross on NBC’s “ER,” the credit that cemented his stardom. His movie work during his run on that show, including the critically acclaimed “Out of Sight,” gave him a base to move almost totally into films with “The Perfect Storm” and “Ocean’s Eleven” among other titles.
As he’s continued his acting, as well as producing (“Argo”) and directing (“Good Night, and Good Luck.”), Clooney has gained additional renown as a true citizen of the world. He has undertaken such social causes as global peacekeeping and humanitarian relief, encompassing his efforts on behalf of the United Nations.
Another aspect of Clooney’s presence at this year’s Golden Globes is the first substantial spotlight it’s likely to place on someone else … his new wife. It’s hard to think that lawyer Amal Alamuddin, recently named by Barbara Walters as the “Most Fascinating Person” of 2014, won’t be at Clooney’s side on such a big night for him. She’s generally been seen only in photos or at a distance since becoming Mrs. Clooney, but the Golden Globes should change that.
Married or not, George Clooney has been watched by the world for a long time, and that’s destined to continue with the latest accolade he’s adding to his many others.