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 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.”
DeNiro asked whether there was a casting-couch process he could participate in, and Freeman quipped, “I’ve never even been on the same bus as Mel Brooks.”
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.
Brooks was almost all comedy as he claimed his prize. But he dropped the funny stuff to thank the institute 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 June 15.
Judge orders check of Paris Jackson
An investigation into Paris Jackson’s well-being has been ordered by a judge overseeing the guardianship of Michael Jackson’s three children, court records show.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ordered an investigator to look into Paris Jackson’s health, education and welfare and recommend whether any changes are necessary on Thursday, one day after she was taken by ambulance from her family’s home and hospitalized.
Authorities have said they were dispatched to the home on a report of a possible overdose, but have not released any additional details.
“There have been communications between the court and counsel and we’re completely supportive of the court’s actions,” grandmother Katherine Jackson’s attorney, Perry Sanders Jr., said Friday.
He has said the 15-year-old is physically fine and receiving appropriate medical treatment. He declined further comment on her health status Friday.
The birthday bunch
Comedian Jerry Stiller is 86. Actor James Darren is 77. Singer Nancy Sinatra is 73. Singer Chuck Negron is 71. Singer Boz Scaggs is 69. Actress Kathy Baker is 63. “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams is 56. Singer Mick Hucknall is 53. Actress Julianna Margulies is 46. Actor Mark Feuerstein is 42. Rapper Kanye West is 36.