They flowed in - a veritable "who's who" of the Hollywood elite - megastars flanked by respected film directors, power-brokers chatting up the studio brass, and a host of precious friends who were there to bestow glowing tributes on a legendary director.
Mike Nichols, of course!
Meryl Streep said it best when she noted what it was like to work with the likeable seasoned pro.
"All I can say is that I was always happy on the set."
Over the years, Diane Sawyer's hubby whipped up a number of entertaining celluloid hits, such as "Barefoot in the Park", "Spamalot", the gut-wrenching "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" starring Elizabeth Taylor, "Carnal Knowledge", and - who could forget? - the Graduate.
Nichols has nabbed a slew of prestigious awards over the years.
For example - he scooped up an Oscar for directing the Graduate; a Drama Desk Award for Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" (stage), an Emmy Award for "Angels of America" (musical), and a Tony award for helming "Spamalot"
In toto, the jewels in his dazzling Crown of Glory, are Mr. Nichol's legacy.
AFI is America's promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, educate the next generation of storytellers, and honor the artists and their work.
In sum, the prestigious National institute fosters leadership in screen education - and in the process - celebrates excellence in the art of film, television and digital media.
AFI trains filmmakers at its world-renowned AFI Conservatory, preserves the legacy of America's film heritage through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archives, explores new digital technologies at AFI Digifest, and honors artists and their work through a variety of programs and special events.
For 37 years, the AFI Life Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a performer to be blessed with.
AFI offers film enthusiasts a variety of events throughout the year including:
(the longest-running International film festival in Los Angeles (sponsor/AUDI)
AFI Discovery Channel Silverdocs
(A documentary festival in Silver Spring, Maryland)
AFI Silver Theatre
(year-long programming in the Washington DC, area