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The 40th AFI Life Achievement Award gala honoring recipient Shirley MacLaine.

Shirley MacLaine: The 40th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala

The stars aligned last night for a tribute to Shirley MacLaine, who was lauded with AFI’s 40th Life Achievement Award. Some of Hollywood’s most revered luminaries turned out to celebrate one of America’s most beloved artists, and presenting guests included her brother Warren Beatty, Dakota Fanning, Sally Field, Carrie Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Katherine Heigl, Elizabeth McGovern, Jack Nicholson, Sidney Poitier, Don Rickles, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and John Travolta.

The evening’s festivities kicked off with MacLaine entering the gala of over 1,000 attendees to “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” a song she made famous in the 1969 screen version of “Sweet Charity.”

Immediately following dinner, Warren Beatty, MacLaine’s Academy Award®-winning brother and 2008 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, talked about how the AFI Life Achievement Award was established in 1973 to ensure that “the great masters of film may take their deserved place in history beside leaders in other arts” and introduced the award recipients in attendance to celebrate MacLaine and the award’s 40th anniversary – Sidney Poitier (1992), Jack Nicholson (1994), Steven Spielberg (1995), Meryl Streep (2004) and Morgan Freeman (2011).

Peppered throughout the night were video tributes from Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jack Black, James L. Brooks, Stephen Hawking, Goldie Hawn, Nicole Kidman, 2010 AFI Life Achievement recipient Mike Nichols and Charlize Theron.

The 2004 AFI Life Achievement Award honoree and Academy Award®-winner Meryl Streep bestowed the prestigious award at the end of the evening to her friend, Shirley MacLaine. Streep said, “There are some performers who are indelible. You fall for them early. You fall hard. And you follow them the rest of your life. That’s our Shirl.”

Upon receiving the award, Shirley spoke first about the women at her table, Jennifer Aniston, Sally Field, Melanie Griffith, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, saying they were “my other half of the sky and my sustained belief that you women will make the world a better place.” She went on to say “thank you to the fabulous leading men I’ve had the pleasure of making love to, on and off the screen.” MacLaine added, “When you’re in my life, you never get away – even if you die,” and closed by saying, “My one piece of assurance to all of us who are overachievers: don’t worry, what we don’t get done now, we will the next time around – if we keep our feet firmly planted on the ground and our heads in the stars, and always listen to the mothers and women in our lives.”

Among the many other guests present to honor MacLaine were Annette, Bening, Toni Collette, Peter Fonda, Marcia Gay Harden, Dennis Haysbert, Dennis Kucinich, Deborah Secco, Tom Skerritt, Cecilia Suarez and Mena Suvari.

The gala, entitled “TV Land Presents: AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine,” was taped at historic Stage 15 at Sony Pictures Studios and will air on TV Land on Sunday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Meryl Streep to Present Shirley MacLaine with the 40th AFI Life Achievement Award

We are thrilled to announce that AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Meryl Streep will present Shirley MacLaine with the 40th AFI Life Achievement Award at our gala tribute on June 7, 2012. The event will take place at Sony Pictures Studios, and will be broadcast on Sunday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m. EST on TV LAND.

Streep, who was honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004, played MacLaine’s daughter in POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990). Both actresses are multiple Academy Award recipients. Streep, nominated a record 17 times, including for POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, won for THE IRON LADY (2011), SOPHIE’S CHOICE (1982) and KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979) while MacLaine, nominated six times, won for her portrayal of Aurora Greenway in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983).

Luminaries from across the film community will join Streep to celebrate the career of Shirley MacLaine, one of America’s treasured motion picture artists. MacLaine will be recognized for her breadth of talents as an actress, songstress, author, director and producer.

"The world loves Shirley MacLaine," said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO of AFI. "AFI’s challenge will be how to fit it all into one evening because hers is a life that spans from movies to television to Broadway, books and beyond. Perhaps more than any other recipient, with Shirley I would underline the word life in Life Achievement Award," he said. "Her’s is a story more than just movies. It’s an epic journey, and she has invited all of us to come along for the ride."

"It is sure to be a magical evening celebrating Shirley’s career, especially with Meryl Streep and many other stars who will be on hand," remarked Larry W. Jones, President, TV Land. "Shirley’s storied film and television career is so rich and colorful, it will be an unforgettable tribute."

HP is the Presenting Sponsor of the gala tribute. Official Sponsors include Audi of America, Deloitte, Verizon Digital Media Services and American Airlines - the official airline of AFI, with additional support provided by Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and Stella Artois.

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