The AFI Life Achievement Award

When AFI was founded in 1967, one of its purposes was to ensure that "great accomplishments of the past are recognized to the end that the masters of film may take their deserved place in history beside leaders in other arts."

This objective was clearly achieved through the AFI Life Achievement Award — the highest honor for a career in film — which was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 23, 1973. The AFI Life Achievement Award honors an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture.

The selection criteria states that "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 AFI Board of Trustees extended the criteria to encompass individuals with active careers and work of significance yet to be accomplished.

Denzel Washington 2019 TNT
George Clooney 2018 TNT
Diane Keaton 2017 TNT
John Williams 2016 TNT
Steve Martin 2015 TBS
Jane Fonda 2014 TNT
Mel Brooks 2013 TNT
Shirley MacLaine 2012 TV LAND
Morgan Freeman 2011 TV LAND
Mike Nichols 2010 TV LAND
Michael Douglas 2009 TV LAND
Warren Beatty 2008 USA
Al Pacino 2007 USA
Sir Sean Connery 2006 USA
George Lucas 2005 USA
Meryl Streep 2004 USA
Robert De Niro 2003 USA
Tom Hanks 2002 USA
Barbra Streisand 2001 FOX
Harrison Ford 2000 CBS
Dustin Hoffman 1999 ABC
Robert Wise 1998 NBC
Martin Scorsese 1997 CBS
Clint Eastwood 1996 ABC
Steven Spielberg 1995 NBC
Jack Nicholson 1994 CBS
Elizabeth Taylor 1993 ABC
Sidney Poitier 1992 NBC
Kirk Douglas 1991 CBS
David Lean 1990 ABC
Gregory Peck 1989 NBC
Jack Lemmon 1988 CBS
Barbara Stanwyck 1987 ABC
Billy Wilder 1986 NBC
Gene Kelly 1985 CBS
Lillian Gish 1984 CBS
John Huston 1983 CBS
Frank Capra 1982 CBS
Fred Astaire 1981 CBS
James Stewart 1980 CBS
Alfred Hitchcock 1979 CBS
Henry Fonda 1978 CBS
Bette Davis 1977 CBS
William Wyler 1976 CBS
Orson Welles 1975 CBS
James Cagney 1974 CBS
John Ford 1973 CBS


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