Press

American Film Institute

MEL BROOKS TO RECEIVE 41ST AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

America’s Highest Honor for a Career in Film to be Presented June 6, 2013

Tribute will Air on TNT and Turner Classic Movies

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 5, 2012 – Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustees, announced today the Board’s decision to honor Mel Brooks with the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film. The award will be presented to Brooks at a gala tribute on Thursday, June 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA.

“Mel Brooks is America’s long-reigning king of comedy – and as he taught us long ago, it’s good to be the king,” said Stringer. “He’s a master of an art form that rarely gets the respect it deserves, and it is AFI’s honor to shine a bright light on laughter by presenting Mel Brooks the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award.”

Reflecting his range of mastery in the entertainment arts – from writing, directing and producing to acting and composing – Brooks is only one of 14 people who have won the Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar® and Tony® Award. Brooks is best known for his comedy films including THE PRODUCERS (1968), BLAZING SADDLES (1974), YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974), SILENT MOVIE (1976), HIGH ANXIETY (1977), HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1 (1981), TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1983),  SPACEBALLS (1987), LIFE STINKS (1991), ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (1993) and DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT (1995) – and he was also executive producer on the Academy Award®-winning THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980). His films have been recognized by the American Film Institute as among the funniest American movies of all time, with three films in the top 15 of AFI’s 100 Years...100 Laughs list: BLAZING SADDLES at #6, THE PRODUCERS at #11 and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at #13.

The 41st AFI Life Achievement Award tribute special will premiere on TNT in late June 2013, followed by encores on its sister network, Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The AFI-Turner relationship is an expansion of an alliance that began in 2011 with TCM PRESENTS AFI’S MASTER CLASS: THE ART OF COLLABORATION, a series of specials taped in front of an audience comprised of AFI Fellows studying filmmaking at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. The specials explore some of the greatest artistic collaborations in film, beginning with Steven Spielberg and John Williams in November 2011 and continuing with David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg in May 2012. A third special is slated to air on TCM in winter 2013.

Last year’s AFI Life Achievement Award tribute brought together icons of the film community to honor Shirley MacLaine. Warren Beatty, MacLaine’s brother and 2008 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, opened the tribute, and Meryl Streep, MacLaine’s friend and 2004 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, presented the award at evening’s end. Also participating were Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jack Black, James L. Brooks, Dakota Fanning, Sally Field, Carrie Fisher, 2011 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Morgan Freeman, Stephen Hawking, Goldie Hawn, Katherine Heigl, Nicole Kidman, Elizabeth McGovern, 2010 AFI Life Achievement recipient Mike Nichols, 1994 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Jack Nicholson, 1992 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Sidney Poitier, Don Rickles, Julia Roberts, 1995 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Steven Spielberg, Charlize Theron and John Travolta. Among the many other guests present to honor MacLaine were Toni Collette, Peter Fonda, Marcia Gay Harden, Dennis Haysbert, Deborah Secco, Tom Skerritt, Cecilia Suárez and Mena Suvari.

Sponsors of the 2013 AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Mel Brooks include HP, Deloitte and American Airlines, the official airline of the American Film Institute.

About Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor, is in an elite group as one of the few entertainers to earn all four major entertainment prizes – the Tony®, Emmy®, Grammy® and Oscar®. His career began in television writing for YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS and together with Buck Henry creating the long running TV series GET SMART. He then teamed up with Carl Reiner to write and perform the Grammy®-winning “2000 Year Old Man” comedy albums and books. Brooks won his first Oscar® in 1964 for writing and narrating the animated short THE CRITIC and his second for the screenplay of his first feature film THE PRODUCERS in 1968. Many hit comedy films followed including THE TWELVE CHAIRS, BLAZING SADDLES, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, SILENT MOVIE, HIGH ANXIETY, HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART I, TO BE OR NOT TO BE, SPACEBALLS, LIFE STINKS, ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS and DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT. His film company, Brooksfilms Limited, also produced critically acclaimed films such as THE ELEPHANT MAN, THE FLY, FRANCES, MY FAVORITE YEAR and 84 CHARRING CROSS ROAD. For three successive seasons, 1997-1999, Mel Brooks won Emmy Awards® for his role as “Uncle Phil” on the hit sitcom MAD ABOUT YOU. Brooks received three 2001 Tony Awards® and two Grammy Awards® for “The Producers: the New Mel Brooks Musical,” which ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2006. He followed that success with “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein,” which ran on Broadway from 2007 to 2009 and both musicals continue to be performed and enjoyed by audiences all over the world. In 2009 Mel Brooks also received The Kennedy Center Honors, recognizing a lifetime of extraordinary contributions to American culture. His most recent projects include the Emmy®-nominated HBO comedy special MEL BROOKS AND DICK CAVETT TOGETHER AGAIN and a career retrospective DVD box set available this fall titled “The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection Of Unhinged Comedy.”


Photo courtesy of Steven R. Stack

About the AFI Life Achievement Award
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 26, 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:

“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.”

AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients
Mel Brooks joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973.

1973   John Ford
1974   James Cagney
1975   Orson Welles
1976   William Wyler
1977   Bette Davis
1978   Henry Fonda
1979   Alfred Hitchcock
1980   James Stewart
1981   Fred Astaire
1982   Frank Capra
1983   John Huston
1984   Lillian Gish
1985   Gene Kelly
1986   Billy Wilder
1987   Barbara Stanwyck
1988   Jack Lemmon
1989   Gregory Peck
1990   David Lean
1991   Kirk Douglas
1992   Sidney Poitier
1993   Elizabeth Taylor

1994   Jack Nicholson
1995   Steven Spielberg
1996   Clint Eastwood
1997   Martin Scorsese
1998   Robert Wise
1999   Dustin Hoffman
2000   Harrison Ford
2001   Barbra Streisand
2002   Tom Hanks
2003   Robert De Niro
2004   Meryl Streep
2005   George Lucas
2006   Sean Connery
2007   Al Pacino
2008   Warren Beatty
2009   Michael Douglas
2010   Mike Nichols
2011   Morgan Freeman
2012   Shirley MacLaine
2013   Mel Brooks

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.

AFI preserves the legacy of America’s film heritage for future generations through the AFI Archive, comprised of rare footage from across the history of the moving image and the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, an authoritative record of American films from 1893 to the present.

AFI honors the artists and their work through a variety of annual programs and special events, including the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI Awards. Celebrating its 41st year in 2013, the AFI Life Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a career in film while AFI Awards, the Institute’s almanac for the 21st century, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year. AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers. And as the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the United States, AFI offers film enthusiasts a variety of events throughout the year, including AFI Fest presented by Audi, the Institute’s annual year-end celebration of artistic excellence in cinema; AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs, the largest documentary festival in the U.S.; and year-round programming at the AFI Silver Theatre in the Washington, DC area.

AFI educates the next generation of storytellers at its AFI Conservatory, which has been consistently recognized as one of the world’s top film schools, boasting alumni including Darren Aronofsky, Patty Jenkins, Janusz KamiÅ„ski, Heidi Levitt, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Wally Pfister, Robert Richardson, Ed Zwick and so many more. AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling.

For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, twitter.com/AmericanFilm and youtube.com/AFI.

About TNT and TCM
TNT, one of cable’s top-rated networks, is television’s destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households, TNT is home to such original drama series as Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Dallas, Perception, Major Crimes, Franklin & Bash, Leverage, Southland and the upcoming Monday Mornings. The network also features dramatic unscripted originals like the upcoming Boston’s Finest (working title), 72 Hours (working title) and The Hero (working title). In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like The Mentalist, Bones, Supernatural, Las Vegas, Law & Order and Castle, which starts this year; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. TNT’s website is located at tntdrama.com.

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. Currently seen in more than 85 million homes, TCM features the insights of hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. As the foremost authority in classic films, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials, along with regular programming events that include The Essentials, hosted by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore, and the month-long 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also stages special events and screenings, such as the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise; produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs; and hosts a wealth of materials at its website, tcm.com.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.


Contact:
Heather Sautter, Turner Entertainment, 404-885-0746 or heather.sautter@turner.com
Jessica Smith, American Film Institute, 323.856.7766 or jsmith@AFI.com

 

 



AFI Membership
The definitive list of classic American films