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Morgan Freeman Receives AFI Life Achievement Award

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for AFI(LOS ANGELES) -- Morgan Freeman was the life of the party Thursday night at an event in Los Angeles organized by the American Film Institute.

He was presented with the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award, in recognition of how his "talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art" and how his "work has stood the test of time."  Previous recipients include Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, and Michael Douglas.

On the red carpet before the ceremony, Freeman said the award was an incredible honor and described it as "one of the most important things that can happen to a young man."

The Oscar-winner was saluted by former co-stars Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Matthew Broderick, and Rita Moreno, as well as by Poitier and Freeman's Kiss the Girls co-star, Cary Elwes.

The gala, taped at Sony Picture Studios, will air as a special on TV Land on June 19.

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