George Lucas to receive AFI award

Saturday, October 16, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- After creating "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "American Graffiti," Darth Vader might insist it was George Lucas' destiny to get the American Film Institute's lifetime achievement award.

Lucas, 60, was picked on Friday to be the recipient of the organization's 33rd annual prize, following such recent recipients as Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks.

"I've been very fortunate to have had a long career doing what I love to do, and being recognized by the AFI for it is really an honor," Lucas said. "I'm proud to be counted among such an extraordinary group of people."

The gala dinner and ceremony, in which clips of his films will be presented by many of the stars he worked with over the years, is set to take place next June in Los Angeles.

The award marks a busy year for Lucas. Last month his original "Star Wars" trilogy debuted for the first time on DVD along with a revised version of his first film, the sci-fi dystopian thriller "THX 1138."

And in May, he will wrap up his "Star Wars" prequels with the release of "Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," which will reveal how Darth Vader became a scarred, half-human half-machine villain.

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