Legendary actor Robert De Niro will receive a lifetime achievement award at a star-studded dinner tonight (12JUN03).

The AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE (AFI) is paying tribute to the MEET THE PARENTS star for his three decades in the movie business. Martin Scorsese, who has directed him in eight films - including his Best Actor OSCAR turn in RAGING BULL - will present the award.

De Niro's friends and colleagues, including Billy Crystal, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, Meryl Streep and Jodie Foster, are due to attend the tribute dinner at Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre, the home of the Academy Awards.

The 59-year-old has created a host of memorable screen characters, such as Taxi Driver's TRAVIS BICKLE and GOODFELLAS' JIMMY CONWAY. His first Academy Award was for Best Supporting Actor as the young VITO CORLEONE in The Godfather PART II.

DeNiro has moved into comedy with recent flicks like ANALYSE THIS, tried his hand at directing A BRONX TALE and The Score, and even produced the Queen musical WE WILL ROCK YOU for the London stage. He also founded New York's TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL in 2002, as a way of promoting culture and tourism in districts that were suffering in the wake of the 11 September attacks.

The AFI hands out lifetime achievement awards to ensure "great accomplishments of the past are recognised to the end that the masters of film may take their deserved place in history beside leaders in other arts". Previous recipients have included Barbra Streisand, Alfred Hitchcock and Clint Eastwood.

12/06/2003 13:48