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AFI Life Achievement Award Goes to John Williams, with the Most Oscar Nominations Ever

AFI Life Achievement Award Goes to John Williams, with the Most Oscar Nominations Ever

The 44th AFI Achievement Award goes to composer John Williams, a rare craftsman to be so honored. The gala event will be held June 9, 2016 and aired on TNT and Turner Classic Movies.
“John Williams has written the soundtrack to our lives,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Chair, AFI Board of Trustees. “Note by note, through chord and chorus, his genius for marrying music with movies has elevated the art form to symphonic levels and inspired generations of audiences to be enriched by the magic of the movies. AFI is proud to present him with its 44th Life Achievement Award.”
John Williams boasts over 150 credits across seven decades. He’s best known for his long collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, from thriller “Jaws” (1975) to “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) and World War II drama “Schindler’s List” (1993). Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores, including “Star Wars” (1977) soundtrack, at number one. With five Academy Award wins and 49 nominations in total, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar nominations of any living person.
Other career touchstones include “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), “Raider of the Lost Ark” (1981) and the Indiana Jones series (1984–2008), “Jurassic Park” (1993), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), the first three films of the “Harry Potter” series (2001–2004), “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005), “The Adventures of Tin Tin” (2011), “Lincoln” (2012) and “The Book Thief” (2013). He will soon transport audiences back to a galaxy far, far away with “Star Wars: Episode VII – “The Force Awakens” opening December 2015, and after skipping “Bridge of Spies”he is set to reteam with Spielberg for “The BFG” in 2016.
From the AFI:
Born and raised in New York, Williams moved to Los Angeles in 1948, where he studied composition with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After service in the Air Force, he returned to New York and studied piano with Madame Rosina Lhévinne at The Juilliard School, and also worked as a jazz pianist both in nightclubs and on recordings. He returned to Los Angeles and began his career in the film industry, working with many accomplished film composers including Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein and Franz Waxman. He went on to write music for more than 200 television films for the groundbreaking anthology series ALCOA THEATRE and KRAFT TELEVISION THEATRE. His more recent contributions to television music include the well-known theme for NBC NIGHTLY NEWS (“The Mission”), the theme for what has become network television’s longest-running series, NBC’s MEET THE PRESS and the theme for the prestigious PBS arts showcase GREAT PERFORMANCES.
Williams went on to compose the music and serve as music director for more than 150 films, including some of the most successful films of all time. His 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg began in 1972 with the film THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS. The five Academy Awards® Williams has received are for: his adaptation of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971), STAR WARS (1977) and three of his scores with Spielberg: JAWS (1975), E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) and SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993). He is also the recipient of 22 Grammy Awards®.
Williams served as Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra for 14 seasons and remains their Conductor Laureate. He has composed numerous works for the concert hall, and maintains vibrant relationships with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. He has composed music for many important cultural and commemorative events, including the theme for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986 and themes for four Olympic Games. In 2003, he received the Olympic Order, the International Olympic Committee’s highest honor, for his contributions to the Olympic movement. He was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in December of 2004 and the National Medal of Arts in 2009. Williams was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and in January of that same year, he composed and arranged “Air and Simple Gifts” for the first inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama.
Most recently, the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute went to Steve Martin.
AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients:
1973   John Ford
1974   James Cagney
1975   Orson Welles
1976   William Wyler
1977   Bette Davis
1978   Henry Fonda
1979   Alfred Hitchcock
1980   James Stewart
1981   Fred Astaire
1982   Frank Capra
1983   John Huston
1984   Lillian Gish
1985   Gene Kelly
1986   Billy Wilder
1987   Barbara Stanwyck
1988   Jack Lemmon
1989   Gregory Peck
1990   David Lean
1991   Kirk Douglas
1992   Sidney Poitier
1993   Elizabeth Taylor
1994   Jack Nicholson
1995   Steven Spielberg
1996   Clint Eastwood
1997   Martin Scorsese
1998   Robert Wise
1999   Dustin Hoffman
2000   Harrison Ford
2001   Barbra Streisand
2002   Tom Hanks
2003   Robert De Niro
2004   Meryl Streep
2005   George Lucas
2006   Sean Connery
2007   Al Pacino
2008   Warren Beatty
2009   Michael Douglas
2010   Mike Nichols
2011   Morgan Freeman
2012   Shirley MacLaine
2013   Mel Brooks
2014   Jane Fonda
2015   Steve Martin

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