The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards on Thursday night in Los Angeles honored legendary film director Mike Nichols and brought out a cavalcade of Hollywood’s brightest stars who feted the man who made such films like The Graduate, Closer, and Charlie Wilson’s War.
“This is one of our great talents, this is long overdue, this award for him. You don’t have anybody really who has done the breadth of work that Mike Nichols has,” Michael Douglas, who walked the carpet solo because wife Catherine Zeta-Jones was busy with a production in NYC, told RadarOnline.com.
Looking beautiful as always, Dame Helen Mirren was effusive with her praise as well: “He’s the most prestigious, most amazing talent and it’s incredible to applaud him tonight.”
Cher, a legend in her own right, shared a story about the genius director. “I went to see him once for a job. And he said, ‘you know what Cher, there are two kinds of women in the world and you’re the wrong kind for this job.’ And I said, ‘you know, I’m talented and one day you’re gonna be sorry.’ And when he came to see me for Silkwood he said, ‘You’re talented, and I’m sorry.'”
The man of the hour Nichols was all smiles as he walked down the red carpet. “Its an honor, I’m pleased and surprised, and sort of happy. It’s a major reunion with so many people I love. You know, you do a movie with somebody and sometimes you don’t see them for three years, but the friendship goes on.”
“I’m hoping he’ll give me my next film role. I’m here to get a job, what do you think?” said Kevin Spacey who was in Working Girl, just one of Nichols many memorable films.
With so many accomplished stars walking the carpet one wonders what they would do if they weren’t acting. “I would probably be lying in a hammock, on the dole taking illegal substances,” joked Emma Thompson.
Leave it to Cher to pick the most unorthodox profession: “I’d be a bank robber,” she said with some certainty.
Mary Louise-Parker may have a risky profession on her hit Showtime show Weeds, but if she had to choose a profession other than acting? “I’d be a kindergarten teacher.”
Rocky Horror Picture star Tim Curry laughed as he said: “It would probably be smarter to teach acting, although, God help the people that would fall for it.”
For Douglas, acting was the only choice. “What do you mean? What am I gonna do? My whole family…I couldn’t get away from it,” he laughed.
The AFI Life Achievment Awards airs on June 26th at 9pm ET/PT on TV Land.