I spent a good deal of the afternoon sitting in the ballroom of the the Ritz Carleton Hotel in downtown Chicago. Actress, comedian, producer, director, and writer Bonnie Hunt and television producer Thea Flaum received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Film.

I’ve been blessed to have Thea, who created Siskel & Ebert, Soundstage, and currently has a host of television shows running on HGTV, DIY, and Fine Living cable networks, as a mentor since I graduated college. She is a shining example of what you can do with your life when you put passion and talent together with a lot of hard work.

Bonnie Hunt was clearly moved by receiving this award (introduced by her brother and Mayor Daley’s wife, Maggie, she almost broke down in tears), in her beloved home town of Chicago. She spent most of her speech introducing every member of her family who came to support her, singing their praises instead of her own. She is warm, funny, smart and genuine.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon.

October 10, 2006