AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala
In one of the year’s most glamorous events – the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala, Jane Fonda’s son Troy Garity told stories about growing up as “the son of Hanoi Jane,” i.e., being sent to school in leg warmers and with no need for a nanny, what with the FBI there to watch over the family.
As the award’s presenter, Michael Douglas praised the actress/ producer/ activist/ exercise guru as film royalty, not through birth, but through her talent. And among one of many there to pay tribute, Jeff Daniels sang her praises – literally – in a musical number about his favorite of Fonda’s achievements, her “Abs, Buns and Thighs” video.
Click here to read my story in the Los Angeles Times about the June 5 event, which has since been broadcast on TNT and will be repeated on TCM. For more pictures and a few more comments, just scroll down.
Much of the special was edited, partly to bleep some remarks by Wanda Sykes about the stated reasons for Michael Douglas’ throat cancer. Mostly, however, there were edits for time.
Although I wasn’t watching the clock, by the time the last speaker delivered a warm-and-fuzzy Fonda tale, much as I enjoyed the evening — and I really did – I was ready to go.
There were clips from Fonda’s many films and a long, triple-A-list of speakers who also included Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Eva Longoria, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin, Fonda’s brother Peter Fonda; and Mel Brooks.
Plus there were remarks via video from Dolly Parton, Jennifer Lopez, Robert De Niro, Annette Bening, Cate Blanchett, Morgan Freeman, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Redford and author Eve Ensler. And AFI board chair Sir Howard Stringer; AFI president Bob Gazzale; and Ron Kovic took turns on stage, with Kovic – the inspiration for “Coming Home” – getting a lengthy standing ovation.
Regarding Sykes, the comedian made her entrance as “Barbarella,” Fonda’s iconic sexpot role, in a movie by that name produced by her then-husband Roger Vadim
“Barbarella, Jane? What the hell were you thinking?” said Sykes, after disembarking from the bare-chested “angel” who carried her onto the stage.
And speaking of that 1968 film, the Blu-ray edition was given as a party favor. More like an Ed Wood production than today’s blockbusters saturated with hi-tech special effects, this movie featured a spaceship made from what appeared to be plywood.
Fonda, however, was so gorgeous then that the story and special effects hardly mattered. She still looked gorgeous, in fact, by evening’s end, after having spent much of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala wiping away tears.
More in the audience were Freeman, Ensler, Fonda’s boyfriend, record producer Richard Perry; Douglas’ wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones; Melanie Griffith; Rosanna Arquette; Dylan McDermott; William H. Macy; Felicity Huffman; Diane Lane; Diego Boneta; Chelsea Handler; music mogul Clive Davis; social leader Barbara Davis; songwriter Carole Bayer Sager and her husband Bob Daly; and from “The Newsroom,” the TV show in which Fonda now appears: Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill, Sam Waterston, Marcia Gay Harden, and others.
By achieving AFI’s Lifetime Award, Fonda joined a list of recipients that includes Streep, both Michael and Kirk Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Sean Connery, Barbra Streisand, Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Taylor, Martin Scorcese, Gene Kelly, Sidney Poitier, Gregory Peck, Frank Capra, James Stewart, Bette Davis, James Cagney and her dad, Henry Fonda.
Top photo: Jane Fonda, center, and family, from left, her Simone Garity, Troy Garity, Richard Perry and Peter Fonda at the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala (photo, Stefanie Keenan/ WireImage, courtesy of AFI)
Third photo: At the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala, Meryl Streep talked of her first acting job, when she met the honoree AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Fourth photo: At the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala, Jeff Daniels sang of Fonda’s video, “Abs, Buns and Thighs” (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Fifth photo: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zea-Jones at the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala (photo: Jason Merritt/ WireImage, courtesy of AFI)
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AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala
Published June 15, 2014 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA