American Film Institute Honors Michael Douglas at 37th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala

Jun 12, 2009
By ViacomCBS Staff

Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire, Martin Sheen, Oliver Stone, Benicio Del Toro, and Kathleen Turner were among those honoring Michael Douglas at the 37th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute held at Sony Pictures Studios this evening. The star-studded black tie gala will air on July 19th at 9pm ET/PT on TV Land PRIME, TV Land's prime time programming block.

After introductions by Sony President and CEO Sir Howard Stringer and AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale, the show opened with a surprise "made-for-the movies" moment as a stunt double fell through a fake ceiling (re-enacting Douglas's climactic dinner entrance in his film, THE GAME). The show pulled out all the stops in celebrating both Douglas's impressive career as an Academy Award-winning actor and producer, and the art of film itself.

Show highlights included a moving appearances by the honoree's father, film legend and 1991 AFI honoree Kirk Douglas, and Steve Swankay, an ex-child soldier from Sierra Leone whose education Douglas had sponsored, as well as a show-stopping performance of "One" from the musical A CHORUS LINE (the film version of which starred Douglas), featuring Douglas's wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones and a surprise musical performance by Bob Dylan. Several of Douglas's notable co-stars and friends also paid tribute.

Jack Nicholson, 1994 AFI Life Achievement recipient and star of the Douglas produced 1975 classic ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, had the honor of presenting the award to Douglas saying, "I've had so many of my high moments and so many of my fine moments with you."

Upon receiving the award, Douglas thanked the NBA for making sure the Lakers had an away game so Nicholson could attend. Douglas continued, saying that in his travels around the world he is frequently struck by the fact that American films export the nation's culture in a way that reflects incredibly well on the country and its values.

Among those he thanked were both of his parents for his "acting DNA", noting that both continue to act. Douglas also paid tribute to former THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO co-star and mentor, Karl Malden. Following up on Malden's taped thoughts that he considered Douglas an adopted son, he said, "I'll be his adopted son anytime."

Also among the guests present were Viacom's Sumner Redstone, Anne Archer, Sean Astin, Genevieve Bujold, Christopher Lloyd, Eric McCormack, Jesse Metcalfe, Sharon Stone, Deborah Unger, Paul Verhoeven, and members of the AFI Board of Trustees.

The evening was presented by HP and Intel.

Additional sponsorship was provided by Stella Artois.

The 37th AFI Life Achievement Award marks the first of a four-year deal between AFI and TV Land.

EVENT PHOTOS are available through Getty Images at

About the American Film Institute AFI is a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media.

AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned Conservatory, preserves the legacy of America's film heritage through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, and explores new digital technologies at AFI Digital Content Lab. For 37 years, the AFI Life Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a career in film. AFI's 100 Years ... series has introduced and reintroduced millions of film lovers to classic American movies. As the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the United States, AFI's festivals include AFI FEST presented by Audi in Los Angeles, the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival Founding Sponsor Victory Park, Presenting Sponsor NorthPark Center, and AFI-Discovery Channel SilverDocs Documentary Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland, in addition to year-round programming at the ArcLight Theaters and Skirball Center in Los Angeles, and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in the Washington, DC area. Additional information about AFI is available at

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