Leonardo DiCaprio received the Actors Inspiration Award from the foundation on Thursday

By Alexis L. Loinaz
Updated November 06, 2015 10:10 AM
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Leonardo DiCaprio notched another career high when he was honored with a top industry award Thursday. But he made sure to give props to the key folks who helped get him there: his parents.

“I was blessed with two incredibly supportive parents who listened to the harassment of their overly assertive son and drove him to auditions after school even though they had very little time for it,” the multiple Oscar nominee said at the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s 30th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles, where he received the Actors Inspiration Award for his screen work and philanthropic efforts.

“And I’m going to take one moment here because this isn’t nationally televised to embarrass both of them, but they’re sitting here tonight,” DiCaprio, 40, continued. “Mom, Irmelin, George – I would not be receiving this award and I would not be the actor that I am or be able to do any of the philanthropy that this job has given me the opportunity to have, and I wouldn’t be the person I am without the both of you, so thank you.”

The actor, who spearheads the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, has been instrumental in advocating for and raising awareness of environmental issues. In July, his foundation pledged $15 million in donations to more than 30 organizations focused on environmental causes.

A week later, the actor raised more than $40 million for environmental and wildlife initiatives at a star-studded gala in Saint-Tropez, France.

“I feel blessed by the platform this community has given me, today, through my foundation – I’m working to save some of the last remaining wild ecosystems and protect endangered species from extinction,” he said at the SAG Foundation gala as he received his award. “I’ve also been going around the world shooting a documentary on the effects of climate change and how this is hastening the fate of life on earth as we know it.”

“Turbulent and disruptive weather events are happening all over the world, and they’re causing irreparable damage,” he explained. “2015 has literally been the tipping point for climatic instability and it’s scary. It’s incredibly scary. The outlook is terrifying, and it’s only going to get worse. The fact is that climate change is the most profound calamity that this world has ever known.”

DiCaprio, who can next be seen onscreen in the period thriller The Revenant, firmly renewed his commitment to fight global warming and raise awareness of climate issues.

“My career has given me a platform and microphones like this one allow me to speak to my community and the world, and I will continue to do so,” he said. “This award, it’s a great honor, and recognition for both my work as an actor and as an activist, I accept this with the belief that my work is just beginning.”

Reporting by REAGAN ALEXANDER