Scorsese, De Niro honor Mel Brooks at AFI tribute`

Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman never worked with Mel Brooks, and the Oscar winners came to a ceremony in his honor to let him know they resent it.

Honoree Mel Brooks, right, makes his way through the crowd during the American Film Institute's 41st Lifetime Achievement Award Gala at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, June 6, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizello/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman never worked with Mel Brooks, and the Oscar winners came to a ceremony in his honor to let him know they resent it.

Brooks received the American Film Institute's 41st Life Achievement Award on Thursday, and Freeman and De Niro were among a galaxy of stars who paid tribute to the man behind "Blazing Saddles," ''Young Frankenstein" and "The Producers."

Martin Short opened the program with a song-and-dance routine set to a medley of melodies from Brooks' films.

"The word genius is used a lot in Hollywood, so I might as well call Mel one," Short said.

Billy Crystal, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Cloris Leachman, David Lynch, Larry David and Carl Reiner also honored the 86-year-old filmmaker at a private dinner at the Dolby Theatre that had the energy of a good-natured roast.

"We are going to miss you so much, Mel," Kimmel said. "You were one of the greats. Rest in peace, my friend."

David blamed Brooks for his idle years as an aspiring comedian.

"Mel Brooks didn't get me into comedy, he kept me away from it," David said, recalling how he was intimidated by Brooks' talent. "I spent years doing nothing because of him."

Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg and Gene Wilder were among those lauding Brooks via video.

"I don't think there's any man anywhere who's like you," Wilder said. "I love you, Mel."

Silverman and Reiner also pledged their love to Brooks.

"I hail you, king Kaminski," Reiner said, using Brooks' real surname.

Past recipients of the AFI honor include Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Eastwood, Spielberg, Lucas and Martin Scorsese, who presented Brooks with his award.

Scorsese put the Oscar- and Tony-winning talent in the same category as the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello.

"Mel has made his own tradition of greatness, and it's that tradition — drawing from the past, honoring it, toying with it, vamping on it, extending it to places wise men, very funny men previously feared to go — that's what we're celebrating here and honoring tonight," Scorsese said. "Mel has always made his own way, and he brought us all along for the joyride."

Brooks was almost all comedy as he claimed his prize. He directed an expletive at Kimmel, declaring, "I'm not gonna die."

But he dropped the funny stuff to thank the institute for recognizing him and to share his lifelong love of film.

"Movies saved my life," he said. "They rescued my soul. No matter what was bad or wrong, it could be wiped out on Saturday morning."

TNT will broadcast highlights from the ceremony as a TV special on June 15.

___

AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy

___

Online:

http://www.afi.com
Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 210585331 - local8now.com/a?a=210585331