Tony Award-winning theater and film star Billy Crudup will receive this year’s PlayMakers Distinguished Achievement Award on Nov. 1 at the 21st annual PlayMakers Ball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A 1990 Carolina alumnus, Crudup played alongside Robert DeNiro, Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie in “The Good Shepherd” (2006). He also was in “Mission Impossible: III” (2006) and “Big Fish” (2003). 

He won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor for his role on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s “The Coast of Utopia.”  

The ball, held at the historic Carolina Inn, is the annual fundraising gala for PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theatre in residence in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The 2008 theme is “Anything Goes! A Tribute to the Great American Songbook.” A black-tie affair, the ball features the award ceremony followed by dining and dancing to the music of the Peter Duchin Orchestra. Proceeds from the event underwrite production costs and artist salaries for the nonprofit theatre.

For tickets to the ball, contact Lenore Field at (919) 452-8417 or lenore.field@gmail.com. Organizations interested in contributing to the ball should contact Stacy Payne at 962-4846 or shpayne@email.unc.edu.

At UNC, Crudup’s passion for acting was nurtured by Lab!Theatre, an undergraduate acting company in the dramatic art department. He went on to earn a master’s degree in fine arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Crudup earned a Best Actor Award from the Paris Film Festival for his performance in the critically acclaimed movie “Jesus’ Son” (1999), and he had a major part as a rock guitarist in the Academy Award-winning film “Almost Famous” (2000) with Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson.

He will portray J. Edgar Hoover in the upcoming film “Public Enemies,” directed by Michael Mann, and appear as iconic superhero Dr. Manhattan in the film version of the graphic novel “Watchmen.” 

Crudup played the leading role in the 1998 film “Without Limits,” the story of long-distance runner Steven Prefontaine. For that role, Crudup won the National Board of Review Award for “Breakthrough Performance of the Year.” 

He received Tony nominations for “Best Actor” for “The Pillowman” (2005) and “The Elephant Man” (2002).

Crudup made his Broadway debut in 1995 in Stoppard’s “Arcadia,” which won him honors including the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Debut of an Actor.

Past winners of the PlayMaker Award include actors Louise Fletcher, Jack Palance, Eva Marie Saint, Faye Dunaway and Hume Cronyn; New York Times critic Frank Rich; costume designer William Ivey Long; director Gene Saks; and Broadway composer and lyricist Richard Adler.

Area designers decorating rooms for the ball will include McKay Coble of PlayMakers; Mark Day of Mark Day Catering and Event Planning in Chapel Hill; Barrie Gibby of barrettdesign events in Burlington; Bitty Holton of Chapel Hill and J.W. Walton of The Catering Company in Chapel Hill.