Chicago (Aug. 6, 2003) -- The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored well-known actor and Hollywood whistleblower Cliff Robertson with a newly created award at the group's annual fraud conference, here.


ACFE chairman Joseph Wells presented Robertson with the first Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award, in recognition of "coming forward for the sole purpose of righting a wrong." The award bears the inscription "For choosing truth over self." The ACFE plans to present the award annually.


At the height of his career, Robertson, who portrayed President John F. Kennedy in the film "PT-109" and more recently portrayed the uncle of Peter Parker in "Spiderman," uncovered a fraud by Columbia Pictures president David Begelman. In a scandal that would come to be known as "Hollywoodgate," it was revealed that Begelman had been fraudulently cashing tens of thousands of dollars in royalty checks made payable to Robertson. Instead of keeping silent, Robertson spoke out about what he knew and was subsequently blacklisted by Hollywood. He didn't work again for more than three years.


"I am honored, honored and thrilled," Robertson said of the award. "I will look at this falcon…with fondness, memories, and great gratitude."


In remarks prior to the award presentation, Robertson reflected on his decision and said, "We're only on this planet for about 20 minutes. It seems silly not to stand up when you can and confront the corruption that exists under the umbrella where you work."


A movie version of Robertson's story will be released this year.


-- Melissa Klein

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