In 1976, William Wyler became the fourth recipient of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, following John Ford, James Cagney and Orson Welles. The winner of three Best ... See full summary »
On March 7, 1979, Alfred Hitchcock becomes the seventh recipient of the American Film Institute's Life Achievment Award. Hostess Ingrid Bergman introduces an array of actors and writers and... See full summary »
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It is an urban legend that Katharine Hepburn was the first choice over Bette Davis. I have read from AFI people that Davis was the first choice all along. It makes more sense since William Wyler was the winner the year before and Davis was prominently featured during the tribute clips (Jezebel, Letter, Little Foxes). As for the Cary Grant standing offer, I have no idea, but it seems odd considering he gave a speech when he won his honorary Oscar, all Grant would have had to have done is say something like "This means a lot to me, thanks for everyone who helped me in my career", the end. Grant regularly appeared at the Oscars (unlike Hepburn, who went only once), so I would have thought he would have appreciated the AFI award. As for Henry Fonda's tribute, it was one of the best.
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