AFI Life Achievement Award
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AFI Life Achievement Award

AFI Life Achievement Award
American Film Institute (AFI) logo.svg
Logo of AFI
Awarded forHonoring an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture.
LocationLos Angeles
Presented byAmerican Film Institute
First awarded1973; 46 years ago (1973)[1]
Television/radio coverage

The AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute on February 26, 1973, to honor a single individual for his or her lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures and television.[2] The recipient is selected and honored at a ceremony annually, with the award presented by a master of ceremonies and recently, the prior year's recipient, who usually gives a brief synopsis of the awarded individual and career background including highlights and achievements.

The Trustees initially specified that the recipient must be one who fundamentally advanced the art of film and whose achievements had been acknowledged by the general public as well as by film scholars and critics and the individual's peers. The Trustees also specified that the work of the recipient must have withstood the test of time.

History of the award

Director John Ford was the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees for the first award as he "clearly stands preeminent in the history of motion pictures." President Richard M. Nixon attended the gala dinner at which Ford was presented the award on March 31, 1973.[2]

The Board of Trustees later amended the "test of time" requirement to enable the AFI Life Achievement Award to be presented to individuals with active careers,[2] such as Tom Hanks, who, at age 46, was the youngest recipient ever, and Steven Spielberg, who received the award at age 48. Silent film star Lillian Gish, was the oldest recipient of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, when in 1984 was honoured at the age of 90.

Televised broadcast

All Life Achievement Award ceremonies have been televised on major TV networks and cable channels: CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, USA, TV Land, TNT and TBS. Agreeing to appear at the televised ceremony apparently is part of the AFI's criteria for selecting the award. The televised ceremony generates income for the AFI, which is no longer funded by the US government. Nine of the honorees have been women: Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Barbara Stanwyck, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton.

Notable omissions

Notable omissions were Robert Altman, Charles Chaplin, Claudette Colbert, Alec Guinness, Audrey Hepburn, Charlton Heston, Bob Hope, Elia Kazan, Paul Newman, Laurence Olivier, (all of whom are recipients of a Lincoln Center Gala Tribute), Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Marlon Brando, Joan Crawford, Doris Day, Marlene Dietrich, Stanley Donen, Irene Dunne, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Greer Garson, Cary Grant, Howard Hawks, Katharine Hepburn, William Holden, Deborah Kerr, Stanley Kramer, Stanley Kubrick, Burt Lancaster, Jerry Lewis, Myrna Loy, Sidney Lumet, Robert Mitchum, Peter O'Toole, Mary Pickford, Anthony Quinn, Debbie Reynolds, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, Norma Shearer, Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Robin Williams and Jane Wyman.

Living people who appeared in or directed films in the top 10 of the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list that have yet to receive the award include Francis Ford Coppola, Olivia de Havilland and Kim Novak. One living actress who was listed on AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars has not received the award: Sophia Loren.


John Ford, the first recipient of the Life Achievement Award.
1984 recipient Lillian Gish is the only star of the silent film era to win this award.
Martin Scorsese was the 25th recipient of the Life Achievement Award.
Morgan Freeman, the 39th recipient of the Life Achievement Award.
Steve Martin, the 43rd recipient of the Life Achievement Award.

The American Film Institute has awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award to one person each year since 1973. The 48th Award will be presented to Julie Andrews on April 25th, 2020, in Los Angeles.[3] This will be the first AFI Life Achievement Award event not to be held in June and also the first AFI Life Achievement Award event to be held in April since 1987. The event will be broadcast on May 7th, 2020, on TNT.

# Year Honoree Age Date of Ceremony Network Award Presenter/Host
1 1973 John Ford 79 March 31, 1973 CBS Danny Kaye (host)
2 1974 James Cagney 74 March 31, 1974 CBS Frank Sinatra (host)
3 1975 Orson Welles 59 February 9, 1975 CBS Frank Sinatra (host)
4 1976 William Wyler 73 March 9, 1976 CBS Gregory Peck (host)
5 1977 Bette Davis 68 March 1, 1977 CBS Jane Fonda (host)
6 1978 Henry Fonda 72 March 15, 1978 CBS N/A
7 1979 Alfred Hitchcock 79 March 7, 1979 CBS Ingrid Bergman (host)
8 1980 James Stewart 71 March 16, 1980 CBS Henry Fonda (host)
9 1981 Fred Astaire 81 April 10, 1981 CBS David Niven (host)
10 1982 Frank Capra 84 March 4, 1982 CBS James Stewart (host)
11 1983 John Huston 76 March 3, 1983 CBS Lauren Bacall (host)
12 1984 Lillian Gish 90 March 1, 1984 CBS Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (host)
13 1985 Gene Kelly 72 March 7, 1985 CBS Shirley MacLaine (host)
14 1986 Billy Wilder 79 March 6, 1986 NBC Jack Lemmon (host)
15 1987 Barbara Stanwyck 79 April 9, 1987 ABC Jane Fonda (host)
16 1988 Jack Lemmon 63 March 10, 1988 CBS Julie Andrews (host)
17 1989 Gregory Peck 72 March 9, 1989 NBC Audrey Hepburn (host)
18 1990 David Lean 82 March 8, 1990 ABC Gregory Peck (host)
19 1991 Kirk Douglas 74 March 7, 1991 CBS Michael Douglas (host)
20 1992 Sidney Poitier 65 March 12, 1992 NBC Harry Belafonte (host)
21 1993 Elizabeth Taylor 61 March 11, 1993 ABC Carol Burnett (host)
22 1994 Jack Nicholson 56 March 3, 1994 CBS Mike Nichols
23 1995 Steven Spielberg 48 March 2, 1995 NBC Sidney Sheinberg
24 1996 Clint Eastwood 65 February 29, 1996 ABC Steven Spielberg
25 1997 Martin Scorsese 54 February 20, 1997 CBS Gregory Peck
26 1998 Robert Wise 83 February 19, 1998 NBC Jack Lemmon
27 1999 Dustin Hoffman 61 February 18, 1999 ABC Jack Nicholson
28 2000 Harrison Ford 57 February 17, 2000 CBS George Lucas and Steven Spielberg
29 2001 Barbra Streisand 58 February 22, 2001[4] Fox Sidney Poitier
30 2002 Tom Hanks 46 June 24, 2002 USA Network Steven Spielberg
31 2003 Robert De Niro 59 June 12, 2003 USA Network Martin Scorsese
32 2004 Meryl Streep 54 June 21, 2004 USA Network Mike Nichols
33 2005 George Lucas 61 June 9, 2005 USA Network Steven Spielberg
34 2006 Sean Connery 75 June 8, 2006 USA Network Harrison Ford
35 2007 Al Pacino 67 June 7, 2007 USA Network Sean Penn
36 2008 Warren Beatty 71 June 12, 2008 USA Network Al Pacino
37 2009 Michael Douglas 64 June 11, 2009 TV Land Jack Nicholson
38 2010 Mike Nichols 78 June 10, 2010 TV Land Meryl Streep
39 2011 Morgan Freeman 74 June 9, 2011 TV Land Clint Eastwood
40 2012 Shirley MacLaine 78 June 7, 2012 TV Land Meryl Streep
41 2013 Mel Brooks 86 June 15, 2013 TNT Martin Scorsese
42 2014 Jane Fonda 76 June 13, 2014 TNT Michael Douglas
43 2015 Steve Martin 69 June 4, 2015 TBS Mel Brooks
44 2016 John Williams 84 June 9, 2016 TNT Steven Spielberg
45 2017 Diane Keaton 71 June 8, 2017 TNT Woody Allen
46 2018 George Clooney 57 June 7, 2018 TNT Shirley MacLaine
47 2019 Denzel Washington 64 June 6, 2019 TNT Spike Lee
48 2020 Julie Andrews 84 April 25, 2020 TNT TBA

See also


  1. ^ "History of AFI". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "The AFI Life Achievement Awards". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "Julie Andrews to Receive 48th AFI Life Achievement Award | American Film Institute". Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ AFI Achievement

External links

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