American Training Day star – whose children John David, 34, Katia, 32, and 28-year-old twins Olivia and Malcolm with spouse Pauletta – has been honoured at the AFI Life Achievement Award gala on Thursday, 6 June.
Asked ahead of the event, which took place at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, what he considered his biggest lifetime achievement, he turned to his wife and smiled as she said: “His four children”.
He replied: “[Actually] I was pointing to her. That’s my biggest lifetime achievement.”
The 64-year-old actor admitted that he felt “humbled” to have been chosen by the American Film Institute for the honour but felt very “relaxed” to be attending an event in his honour as there was no pressure on him.
He told Entertainment Tonight: “I’m humbled, I’m grateful, I’m thankful… I’ve never done this before so I can’t really tell you how I feel.
“It doesn’t feel like other times I’m on the red carpet. I’m usually promoting a film or at an award show. [Here] I’ve already won, I guess, so it’s different. It’s relaxed.”
Despite his decades of success, the Fences star admitted that he “never thought” about a career in acting when he was younger until it was suggested when he was at university
He told Variety: “I kind of backed into it. I never thought about acting, I didn’t know anything about it. But I fell in love with it. Ignorance is bliss.
“Someone said, ‘Hey, you ever thought about being on stage? You seem like a natural’. That fall, I did a musical. I found out I couldn’t sing, but I was off to the races.”