LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Warren Beatty has been selected by
the American Film Institute's (AFI) Board of Trustees to receive the 36th
AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film, it was
announced today by Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees.
The award will be presented to Beatty at a gala tribute in Los Angeles
on June 12, 2008.
"Warren Beatty has charmed movie-goers as a dynamic leading man from
his first moment on screen and continues to do so today," said Stringer.
"He is also a master filmmaker -- a writer, producer and director of such
artistry and influence that his movies -- from BONNIE AND CLYDE to REDS --
have left an indelible mark on the cultural legacy of American film. AFI is
proud to present him with its 36th Life Achievement Award."
USA Network will broadcast the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute
in June, 2008.
About Warren Beatty
Tall, athletic and movie star-handsome, Warren Beatty has been a force
both in front of and behind the camera for more than 40 years-producing,
directing, writing and acting.
The younger brother of actress Shirley MacLaine was born Henry Warren
Beaty in Richmond, Virginia, on March 30, 1937. In his youth, Beatty -- he
later changed the spelling of his last name -- enjoyed acting in amateur
plays. After attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for
just one year, he dropped out to study acting with Stella Adler.
In 1959, Beatty landed his first major role on the CBS sitcom THE MANY
LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS opposite Tuesday Weld. His Broadway debut in William
Inge's A Loss Of Roses in 1960 earned him a Tony nomination, and a year
later he appeared for the first time on the big screen in Elia Kazan's
study of teenage love, SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, co-starring Natalie Wood.
Beatty's role as Wood's troubled but charismatic boyfriend established his
early screen persona as an impish, sexy but earnest "bad boy." Similar
roles followed, solidifying this image-an Italian gigolo opposite Vivian
Leigh in THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE (1961); the older brother in ALL
FALL DOWN (1962); and a nurse who becomes too involved with a mental
patient in LILITH (1963). One of Beatty's most accomplished portrayals of
the 1960s was the title role of Arthur Penn's MICKEY ONE (1965). His
bracing performance as a paranoid nightclub performer established him as a
In 1967, Beatty turned to producing, with director Arthur Penn's BONNIE
AND CLYDE. By championing the script, supervising rewrites and assisting
with casting, Beatty proved to be a truly hands-on producer. In addition,
his charismatic lead performance earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination,
one of 10 Academy Award nominations for BONNIE AND CLYDE, including Best
Robert Altman's anti-Western McCABE AND MRS. MILLER (1971) showcased
Beatty's remarkable performance as a self-deluding frontiersman.
Politically active -- he played a visible role in McGovern's 1972
presidential campaign and later served as an unofficial advisor during Gary
Hart's 1988 bid -- Beatty acted in two of the more socially astute films of
the 1970s, including THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974), about an organization of
political conspirators; and SHAMPOO (1975) which he co-wrote with Robert
Towne. A few years later, HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978), a loose remake of HERE
COMES MR. JORDAN (1941), garnered 10 Academy Award nominations, including
nods for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director (Beatty and Buck Henry)
and Best Screenplay (Beatty and Elaine May).
Beatty's acting, writing, directing and producing efforts all coalesced
brilliantly in 1981 with REDS, an epic love story based on the life of
journalist John Reed, set against the Russian Revolution. Meticulously
filmed, this sprawling, passionate tale was inter-cut with documentary
interviews of "witnesses," real-life individuals (like Rebecca West and
Henry Miller) who were Reed's contemporaries. Beatty also elicited strong
performances from co-stars Diane Keaton (as love interest Louise Bryant),
Jack Nicholson (as Eugene O'Neill), Edward Hermann (as Max Eastman) and
Maureen Stapleton (as Emma Goldman). Nominated for 12 Oscars, REDS received
three, including one for Best Director for Beatty.
In 1987, Beatty and Dustin Hoffman teamed as struggling
singer-songwriters in Elaine May's ISHTAR, a loose homage to the
Hope/Crosby road movies. Although savaged by the press and entertainment
insiders, both Hoffman and Beatty -- cast against type -- delivered
charming turns as the musically challenged duo, and the deliberately awful
songs written by Paul Williams perfectly suited the material.
In 1990, Beatty directed and starred in the comic strip hit DICK TRACY.
The film's stylized primary colors production values, deft performances
from the supporting cast (including Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Glenne
Headley and William Forsythe) and enjoyable score by Stephen Sondheim all
contributed to its commercial success. As mobster Benjamin Siegel in the
Barry Levinson-directed BUGSY (1991), Beatty proved once again his immense
talents as an actor. BUGSY earned 10 Oscar nominations, including one for
Beatty as Best Actor. The film also marked his first collaboration with
future wife Annette Bening, who co-starred as Virginia Hill.
Beatty and Bening went on to co-star in LOVE AFFAIR (1994), the second
remake of the 1939 Leo McCarey film. For this updated version,
producer/writer Beatty managed to charm screen legend Katharine Hepburn out
of semi-retirement to play a one-scene role.
Following a four-year hiatus, Beatty returned to the big screen with
BULWORTH in 1998. As director, co-producer and co-writer, Beatty also
starred as a politically incorrect US senator, opposite Halle Berry. Most
recently, Beatty co-starred with Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Garry
Shandling in TOWN & COUNTRY, released in 2001.
Among his many honors, Warren Beatty received the Irving G. Thalberg
Award in 2000, and in 2004 he was among the six individuals selected for
the 27th annual Kennedy Center Honors for his significant contribution to
About the AFI Life Achievement Award
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement
Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 26, 1973. It
is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria
as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:
"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way
advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by
scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose
work has stood the test of time."
In 1993, the trustees extended the criteria to encompass "individuals
with active careers and work of significance yet to be accomplished."
AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients
Warren Beatty joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been
chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973.
1973 John Ford 1990 Sir David Lean
1974 James Cagney 1991 Kirk Douglas
1975 Orson Welles 1992 Sidney Poitier
1976 William Wyler 1993 Elizabeth Taylor
1977 Bette Davis 1994 Jack Nicholson
1978 Henry Fonda 1995 Steven Spielberg
1979 Alfred Hitchcock 1996 Clint Eastwood
1980 James Stewart 1997 Martin Scorsese
1981 Fred Astaire 1998 Robert Wise
1982 Frank Capra 1999 Dustin Hoffman
1983 John Huston 2000 Harrison Ford
1984 Lillian Gish 2001 Barbra Streisand
1985 Gene Kelly 2002 Tom Hanks
1986 Billy Wilder 2003 Robert De Niro
1987 Barbara Stanwyck 2004 Meryl Streep
1988 Jack Lemmon 2005 George Lucas
1989 Gregory Peck 2006 Sean Connery
2007 Al Pacino
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, maintains America's film heritage
through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and explores new digital
technologies in entertainment and education through the AFI Digital Content
Lab and AFI K-12 Screen Education Center. As the largest nonprofit
exhibitor in the US, AFI ON SCREEN encompasses the annual AFI FEST
presented by Audi: AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival -- as well
as year-round programming at ArcLight Hollywood and the AFI Silver Theatre
and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, including SILVERDOCS:
AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival. AFI AWARDS, the annual almanac
for the 21st century, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and
television programs of the year, while AFI's 100 Years . . . series has
ignited extraordinary public interest in classic American movies. And,
during the past 35 years, AFI's Life Achievement Award has become the
highest honor for a career in film. Additional information about AFI is
available at AFI.com.
SOURCE American Film Institute