'Sharp, Sassy, Sexy' Sarandon Saluted

updated 05/06/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/06/2003 01:00PM

There was a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Thelma and Louise" reunion in New York Monday night -- and, yes, even a "Bull Durham" tribute -- as the Film Society of Lincoln Center saluted Susan Sarandon at its annual spring gala.

"It is an honor to be in the company of the people who went before me," a humble Sarandon, 56, told the black-tie crowd in the cavernous Avery Fisher Hall at the conclusion of the all-star evening. She thanked those who showed the courage to participate, and told Lincoln Center, "I'm so happy you didn't cancel."

That quip, of course, was a reference to the recent cancellation of the Baseball Hall of Fame's 15th anniversary salute to "Bull Durham" because of the anti-war stance of Sarandon and her partner, Tim Robbins, who starred in the movie.

Robbins, 48, was one of several stars paying tribute to Sarandon, along with Geena Davis, John Turturro, David Bowie, Harry Belafonte, Tim Curry, director Paul Schrader and author Gore Vidal.

Referring to Sarandon as "my partner in crime," Robbins told the crowd that although he's "always been very protective of our relationship in public, I want to tell you something unique and funny about Susan -- but I also value peace at home."

He called Sarandon "a great mother to our three children" and said he is "honored to be unmarried but forever committed to her."

UNICEF goodwill ambassador and entertainer Belafonte, 76, cited the actress's devotion to helping children around the world, while Curry, 56, who costarred with a young Sarandon in 1974's "Rocky Horror," praised her "fierce courage, implacable intelligence and athletic compassion."

Davis, 47, said she originally wanted Sarandon's more assertive role in 1991's "Thelma and Louise," until she met her costar, and realized she was far more assertive.

Came his turn at the podium, Bowie, 56 -- who costarred with Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve in the 1983 lesbian vampire flick "The Hunger" -- spoke admiringly of someone who is "sharp, sassy and seriously sexy -- but enough about me."

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