Conferral of Degrees to Take Place June 5, 2017,
At AFI Conservatory Commencement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 16, 2017, Los Angeles, CA — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today it will confer Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa upon television icon Carol Burnett, and upon acclaimed filmmakers Marshall Herskovitz (AFI Class of 1975) and Edward Zwick (AFI Class of 1975). All three will be recognized for their contributions to the art of the moving image during the AFI Conservatory's commencement ceremony on June 5, 2017, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre. 

The date of AFI's commencement exercises marks the 50th anniversary of the American Film Institute's formation in 1967. The honorees underscore this historic moment, as 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, and Herskovitz and Zwick are both prominent alumni of the AFI Conservatory, embodying AFI's national mandate "to educate the next generation of storytellers."

Burnett, Herskovitz and Zwick join an esteemed group of distinguished past Honorary Degree recipients, including Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Saul Bass, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Kasdan, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler and John Williams. See the full list here.

About Carol Burnett
Award-winning actress, comedian, playwright and bestselling author Carol Burnett is widely recognized for her comedic and dramatic roles on TV, film and Broadway — most notably for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, which lasted for 11 years across 279 episodes. As a legendary entertainer, Burnett has received six Emmy® Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, the 2016 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Life Achievement Award and many more prestigious accolades. Her film credits include John Huston's ANNIE, Peter Bogdanovich's NOISES OFF, Alan Alda's THE FOUR SEASONS and Robert Altman's A WEDDING. Her Broadway credits include "Once Upon a Mattress," Stephen Sondheim's "Putting It Together" and more. Burnett has also guest-starred on television series including GLEE, HAWAII 5-0, HOT IN CLEVELAND and LAW AND ORDER: SVU. She will next be seen in the ABC pilot HOUSEHOLD NAME, executive-produced by Amy Poehler.

About Marshall Herskovitz
Marshall Herskovitz is a director, writer and producer who has won numerous awards for his work in television and film, including four Primetime Emmy® Awards. Herskovitz graduated from the AFI Conservatory Class of 1975, where he met his longtime creative partner Edward Zwick, with whom he currently runs The Bedford Falls Company. In the years since, he has produced, directed and written such TV series as MY SO-CALLED LIFE, NASHVILLE, ONCE AND AGAIN and THIRTYSOMETHING. Among the films he has produced are BLOOD DIAMOND, THE LAST SAMURAI, LEGENDS OF THE FALL and TRAFFIC, which earned him a Best Picture Oscar® nomination. He also directed the films JACK THE BEAR and DANGEROUS BEAUTY. He will next reunite with Zwick for the Discovery Channel original series THE SUCK, about the American experience in the Vietnam War. He has been on the AFI Board of Trustees since 2003, and is currently Vice Chair of the Board.

About Edward Zwick
Edward Zwick is a director and producer who, like his creative partner Herskovitz, began his filmmaking career at the AFI Conservatory, Class of 1975. He received a Best Picture Oscar® in 1999 for his work as a producer on SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, and has directed films including BLOOD DIAMOND, COURAGE UNDER FIRE, DEFIANCE, GLORY, THE LAST SAMURAI, LEGENDS OF THE FALL, LOVE & OTHER DRUGS, PAWN SACRIFICE, THE SIEGE and many more. He has produced TV series including MY SO-CALLED LIFE, NASHVILLE, ONCE AND AGAIN and THIRTYSOMETHING. Most recently, Zwick directed Tom Cruise in JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK. Throughout his career, Zwick has received three Emmy® Awards and many guild prizes. He has been an AFI Trustee since 2003, and is currently Vice Chair of the Board. He runs with the production banner The Bedford Falls Company with Herszkovitz.

About the AFI Conservatory

The 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. AFI Conservatory alumni have been consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards — Academy Awards®, Emmy® Awards and guild awards — as well as Tony Awards® and Grammy Awards®. Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks serves as Artistic Director of the AFI Conservatory, providing creative leadership for the elite film program. Proud supporters of the AFI Conservatory are American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America's promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI at,, and


Liza deVilla Ameen, 323.856.7885,
[email protected]
Stephanie Sweeney, 323.856.7871, [email protected],,