04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
Actress and social activist Susan Sarandon, 53, was honored before 400 friends and guests in New York last night for her work on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a civil rights group. The mood of the event was low-key and mellow, but that didn't stop Tim Robbins, Sarandon's partner of 12 years, from eliciting some big yuks from the crowd in speaking about his companion. As for what endears Sarandon to him, he said, "She's loved by both die-hard Rangers fans and die-hard drag queens." Sarandon, visibly moved and crying when presented an award, noted, "In the end, it's only community and family that's going to be the measure of your life." Looking out at her assembled admirers and friends, she added, "And you can see the family I have."