Proclaiming himself the “king of wooden dialog,” helmer George Lucas showed he wasn’t above the playful ribbing that characterized the AFI’s 33rd Annual Life Achievement Award ceremony, honoring the “Star Wars” creator.
The black-tie affair, featuring heavyweights like Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Warren Beatty, kicked off with a small cocktail reception, sans Lucas, where Jack Valenti caught up with Fox CEO Peter Chernin and Hugh Hefner showed off his umpteen girlfriends.
At the ceremony, William Shatner set the tone for the night with his opening remarks: ” ‘Star Trek’ changed everything, and aren’t these conventions wonderful?” He performed a rendition of “My Way” (titled “Your Way”) with a chorus line of stormtroopers and finished the number telling Lucas, “Live long. You’ve already prospered enough.”
After sentimental tributes from Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Duvall and Mark Hamill, “Star Wars” thesps Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher offered more loose comments. “Hi, I’m Mrs. Han Solo, and I’m an alcoholic,” began Fisher’s spirited schtick. Ford ended by wisecracking about how long it’s taking Lucas to get started on “Indiana Jones 4:” “Sean (Connery) will be too old to play my dad soon.”
Also on hand to pay their respects were Sony CEO Howard Stringer, who kicked back with a beer at the after-party with Fisher; thesps Jimmy Smits and Billy Dee Williams; composer John Williams; and, of course, Chewbacca.