LOS ANGELES, California - Hollywood actor Reggie Lee received the Visionary Award for raising the visibility of Asian Pacific American community through his remarkable film and television work.
The Filipino-American was honored by East West Players, one of the most prestigious Asian-American organizations in America.
Hollywood stars attended the gala, including Ming-na Wen of Marvel's "Agents of Shield" and Daniel Dae Kim of "Hawaii Five-O."
"Such a generous honor to be called a visionary. There are so many that paved the way for us so to be termed one of those people is pretty amazing. It's great for younger kids that are coming up and wanna be in this business, not just for Asian-Americans, but specifically for Filipinos that feel like they wanna do this. I'm proud to represent," he said.
In his speech, Lee mentioned the recent Aswang episode of "Grimm" saying that it's the first Filipino-centric storyline in American network TV.
Lee's co-stars heaped praises on the actor.
"I think he's a phenomenal actor and a phenomenal person," said Grimm star, Claire Hornsby.
Russell Hornsby added, "Such a consummate professional, such a gentleman, and such a humanitarian. A man with a big heart."
Lee spearheaded the show's donation campaign last year when typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.
The actor said he's having the time of his life and even got another honor recently: a dessert shop in Portland has named of one of its donuts after his Grimm character.
As for future plans, he said he also wants to try directing.
"I love directing. I would love to do that. Just the fire of creating something different and I love working with actors. Maybe I'll get to direct an episode, who knows?" he said.
Lee's parents Jess and Zeny Valdez witnessed their son's big moment at the gala.
"That's always the best part. Mom and dad, and just to see them proud is kind of the icing on top of the cake. Yung suporta nila, talagang solid sila. Alam mo naman, sa Philippines it's all about the stability but now they see this and they see that I'm really happy," he said.
Meanwhile, Lee's "Grimm" co-stars said that the "Aswang" story has become one of their favorites.
"I thought that was one of our finest episodes largely because of Reggie Lee," said another Grimm star, David Giuntoli.
"To use a Filipino tale that has real meaning I think it speaks to the universality of the show," commented co-star, Silas Weir Mitchell.
Lee and the cast said fans of the show might see the return of the Aswang in future episodes.