American Film Institute honors actor Michael Douglas

MUMBAI: 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.

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 appearance 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.

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.

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