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Film academy's Thalberg Award goes to John Calley

September 12, 2009|Susan King

John Calley, Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis will be this year's recipients of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' testimonial awards.

The academy's board of governors announced Thursday night that Calley would receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and Bacall, Corman and Willis an Honorary Award.

Calley, born in 1930, is a Oscar-nominated producer of such films as "The Remains of the Day" and "Angels & Demons," as well as a former studio executive who served as president and CEO of Sony Pictures Studios. Bacall, 84, made her film debut in 1944's "To Have and Have Not" opposite Humphrey Bogart, whom she married. She has appeared in such classics as "The Big Sleep," "Key Largo" and "How to Marry a Millionaire."

Corman, 83, has produced and directed low-budget motion pictures for the past 50-plus years, including "Swamp Woman" and "Little Shop of Horrors." He's also known for giving several Oscar-winning directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard their big breaks. Willis, 78, is a cinematographer who received Oscar nominations for 1983's "Zelig" and 1990's "The Godfather Part III."

The Thalberg Award is given periodically to "creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production," according to the academy's statement.

The award is named after the famed MGM producer of the 1920s and '30s who died in 1936 at age 37. Winners over the years have included Walt Disney, David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Walter Mirisch and Steven Spielberg.

The Honorary Award is given to an individual for "extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the academy."

These awards have traditionally been handed out during the Oscar telecast but in June the academy's board decided to shake things up a bit and bestow the awards at a non-televised celebratory dinner on Nov. 14 in the Governors Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. The recipients will also be acknowledged during the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7.

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susan.king@latimes.com

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