NEW YORK — Everyone gathered at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Feb. 25 to say “I love you” to Goldie Hawn, who became the first actress honored by the American Museum of the Moving Image at its annual gala salute.

Among the highlights of the evening was a reel of TV and film clips spanning Hawn’s 30-year career, from the days of “Laugh-In” in 1968 to her Academy Award-winning performance in “The Sugarland Express” to her latest role in Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You,” where she sings and dances as if magically suspended by invisible strings.

As friends and colleagues paid tribute to Hawn, a picture emerged of a self-possessed woman who does not allow others to rain on her parade. “She claims joy as her right. She operates in a state of grace,” said Eileen Brennan, who appeared with Hawn in “Private Benjamin.”

Bette Midler, who starred with Hawn and Diane Keaton in “First Wives Club,” said, “She has an effortless quality that people try their whole lives to achieve.”

Glenn Close noted that when “First Wives” producer Scott Rudin suggested that Hawn change her hair to achieve a new look, “she showed up on the set with her long tresses.”

For the salute, Hawn wore a bronze Vera Wang dress with 19th century Indian earrings and a pair of gold Balinese cuff bracelets from Fred Leighton jewelers. Her stunning appearance can sometimes be intimidating, said Meryl Streep. “Goldie’s posture is a rebuke,” joked Streep. “You can feel like Quasimodo in a dress.”

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