Hollywood’s biggest names turned out to see Shirley MacLaine receive the prestigious American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award at a recent black tie gala at Sony Pictures Studios, the taping of which will air on TV Land tomorrow.The festivities began with MacLaine’s spirited entrance into the historic Stage 15, where more than 1,000 invited guests were on hand to celebrate her storied career. Warren Beatty, MacLaine’s younger brother and fellow AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, began by explaining the award’s purpose of ensuring that “the great masters of film may take their deserved place in history beside leaders in other arts.”
The evening featured in-person tributes by stars including Katherine Heigl who credits MacLaine for inspiring her own career, John Travolta who noted MacLaine as “a woman who does it all – but always first – a dancer,” and Julia Roberts who shared a story about MacLaine’s card playing days with the “Rat Pack” and Chicago mob boss, Sam Giancana.
Jack Black’s hilarious pre-recorded speech was among the many tributes of those who could not attend. Other video tributes came from James L. Brooks, Goldie Hawn, Nicole Kidman, and Charlize Theron.
In a room full of Hollywood’s most respected, and by all accounts, achieved, MacLaine closed the evening by saying, “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 the women in our lives.”
The women in MacLaine’s life were represented by her table mates: Jennifer Aniston, Sally Field, Melanie Griffith, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep. Streep, who presented MacLaine with the award, may have said it best: “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.”
You can catch “Shirl” and the rest of Hollywood’s finest this Sunday, June 24 at 9 p.m. on TV Land.