American Film Institute Honors Mike Nichols at 38th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala

Cher, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep Among Those Saluting Nichols' Career

Gala Event to Air on TV Land on June 26 at 9:00 p.m ET/PT

Jun 11, 2010, 16:49 ET from TV Land

LOS ANGELES, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Cher, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep were among those honoring Mike Nichols at the 38th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute held at Sony Pictures Studios last night. The star-studded black tie gala will air on June 26th at 9pm ET/PT on TV Land.

After introductions by Sony President and CEO Sir Howard Stringer, AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale and 2009 AFI Life Achievement winner, Michael Douglas, the gala featured a surprise show-stopping performance by legendary duo Simon and Garfunkel singing the Grammy® award-winning song "Mrs. Robinson" from Nichols' 1967 Oscar-winning film "The Graduate."  The show pulled out all the stops in celebrating Nichols' impressive career as one of the few artists to have received the Oscar®, the Emmy®, the Tony® and the Grammy®.

Show highlights included a moving tribute from Julia Roberts of Nichols' film "Closer" and Elaine May, Nichols' writing and comedy partner and friend for over 60 years, as well as a hilarious monologue by Robin Williams of "The Birdcage."  English comedian Eric Idle brought the house down with a sing-a-long performance of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "Spamalot" wearing the iconic wings from "Angels in America." Kevin Spacey had the audience in stitches with his Jack Nicholson impression and tribute to Nichols.  Several notable stars from the honoree's films and friends also paid tribute including Calista Flockhart ("The Birdcage"), Dustin Hoffman ("The Graduate"), Shirley MacLaine ("Postcards from the Edge"), Mary-Louise Parker ("Angels in America"), Natalie Portman ("Closer"), and Emma Thompson ("Wit") to name a few.

Meryl Streep, winner of the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004 whose collaborations with Mike Nichols over the past 30 years have garnered her Oscar® and Emmy® Award nominations, had the honor of presenting the award to Nichols beginning with a poem she wrote especially for the occasion.  Streep finished her speech by saying, "It's Mike's grace that makes you feel, when you work with him, like you've been invited to an impromptu gathering of the most interesting, inventive people in town, and somehow, miraculously, you're one of those people." 

Upon receiving the award, Nichols stated, "If I thanked all who contributed importantly over the years, we would be here till Miley Cyrus's AFI Award."

Among those he thanked were his film family -- loyal crew members, script supervisor, DP's, sound creator, composers, and his family including his wife, Diane Sawyer, as well as all his friends who spoke at the event recognizing his illustrious career in film, television and on Broadway.  Nichols closed the evening stating, "Good night moon, good night stars.  I'll see you on the set and the beach and in the kitchen.  And at the movies."

Also among the guests present were Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Candice Bergen, Kate Capshaw, Tim Curry, Nora Ephron, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, John Goodman, Taylor Hackford, Tom Hanks, Ken Howard, Dame Helen Mirren, Diane Sawyer, George Segal, Wallace Shawn, Kevin Spacey, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Spielberg, Joan Van Ark, Steven Weber, Forest Whitaker, Ed Zwick and members of the AFI Board of Trustees.

The evening was presented by Hewlett-Packard and AT&T.

The 38th AFI Life Achievement Award marks the second of a four-year deal between AFI and TV Land. 

EVENT PHOTOS are available through PictureGroup at www.picturegroup.com.

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.

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.

2010 AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Mike Nichols joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973:  John Ford (1973), James Cagney (1974), Orson Welles (1975), William Wyler (1976),  Bette Davis (1977), Henry Fonda (1978), Alfred Hitchcock (1979), James Stewart (1980), Fred Astaire (1981), Frank Capra (1982),  John Huston (1983), Lillian Gish (1984), Gene Kelly (1985), Billy Wilder (1986), Barbara Stanwyck (1987), Jack Lemmon (1988),  Gregory Peck (1989), Sir David Lean (1990),  Kirk Douglas (1991), Sidney Poitier (1992),  Elizabeth Taylor (1993), Jack Nicholson (1994),  Steven Spielberg (1995), Clint Eastwood (1996),  Martin Scorsese (1997), Robert Wise (1998), Dustin Hoffman (1999), Harrison Ford (2000), Barbra Streisand (2001), Tom Hanks (2002), Robert De Niro (2003), Meryl Streep (2004), George Lucas (2005), Sean Connery (2006), Al Pacino (2007), Warren Beatty (2008) and Michael Douglas (2009).

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