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Marylouise Oates

AFI Spotlight on Jack Lemmon for Time-Tested Achievement

February 19, 1988|Marylouise Oates

Julie Andrews got stashed in the back room at Jimmy's while Jack Lemmon and George Stevens Jr. took the spotlight announcing Lemmon as the recipient of this year's American Film Institute Life Achievement Award. The party, on March 10, is a guaranteed hot ticket: Generations of stars always show up, and with the very popular Lemmon getting this year's nod, the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton will be a movie mob scene.

"What this is really all about is tradition, in a town which is only lately finding its tradition," said Stevens, who dreamed up the award 16 years ago and whose father, George Stevens, directed some of Hollywood's most famous films.

The winner is chosen, Stevens said, on the basis of "work that has stood the test of time." Past honorees have included Orson Welles, Fred Astaire, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis and Henry Fonda.

Stevens is a little prickly about the proliferation of other "life achievement" awards since the AFI got its started.

"Now there is one for the lawyers of West Covina," he grumbled.

The honor for Lemmon, he agreed, represents a movement to a new generation; Lemmon is in his 60s, and many of those honored in the last decade were in their 70s and 80s. It is also fitting, Stevens pointed out, since "Jack was in a way a protege of John Ford, playing Ensign Pulver in 'Mr. Roberts.' "

A remarkably young-looking Andrews, waiting in the back room before being announced as host for the party, judged that "Jack's body of work speaks for itself--so well-crafted and so much of it. Well, why not honor him?"

And, in what is obviously a teaser to what she will say before that black-tie crowd, Andrews added: "He is adorable . . . the easiest, nicest, most professional person."

More kudos have to wait until March 10.

VALLEY VIEW--Social news from the Valley (Valley Presbyterian Hospital, that is), which celebrates its 30th anniversary with the third annual Regents Ball March 5 at the Registry Hotel. From its own backyard, Valley Pres has lined up "St. Elsewhere's" William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett, "Knots Landing's" Joan Van Ark and her newsman husband John Marshall, actress Connie Stevens and actor Earl Holliman. The Fifth Dimension will entertain.

DETAILS ON "THE QUILT"--Next week will bring the official announcement of the placement of the National AIDS Quilt. Sponsored here by The Names Project/Los Angeles (already signing up as corporate sponsors at $10,000 each are Porton Medical Laboratories and Transamerica), the quilt will be the centerpiece of a memorial service set for April 7 at Pauley Pavilion. It will also be on display at Pauley April 9 and 10. The 90,000-square-foot quilt is made up of 3-by-6-foot panels, made by friends and families of people who have died of AIDS. The April 7 ceremony is the official launching of a 20-city tour.

NEW EVENT, BUT FAMILIAR NAMES--Such as Phyllis Diller (whom we adore no matter how pretty she gets) and Bill Kieschnick, the former Arco CEO who is just finishing up his term as chairman of the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art. They both get honored at a Bel-Air Hotel reception Tuesday, with the first Northwood Business and the Arts Award. Celeste Holm will do the presenting honors, and Arthur E. Turner and David E. Frey will be on hand, representing Northwood Institute. With locations in Michigan, Texas, Florida, Maine and Paris, Northwood is a nationally based private college committed to preparing business management graduates with a special understanding of the use of the arts in business. The evening is a cocktail reception, but the invites carry the instructions "Black Tie Optional"--which, for a cocktail party, is a new one on us.

UPCOMING AND IMPORTANT--The Skid Row Development Corp. and Transamerica Occidental Life Chairman David Carpenter host the third annual gala reception in support of Transition House Thursday at the L.A. Athletic Club. . . . Barry and Louise Taper (he's on the Otis/Parsons board of governors, and they both will chair this year's Critics Awards Fashion Show on May 7) host a kickoff cocktail reception Thursday at their Beverly Hills home. Among those on the committee are art collector Iris Cantor (she and husband Gerald are still jetting back and forth between Beverly Hills and New York City) and industry co-chairmen Herb and Norman Fink (of Theodore Design Studio) and Fred Segal's Fred Segal. . . . More details will follow, but yes, it is Bob Hope who is being honored by the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation at its annual dinner March 19. That will bring out the stars.

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