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Robert De Niro Steps Out, for His Festival, His Father and the Friars Club's Top Award

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 17, 2014 at 2:01PM

We all know that Robert De Niro is a far better screen actor than he is public figure. Journalists dread interviews with the famously monosyllabic star. But this year De Niro is suddenly everywhere: at Tribeca, his New York film festival, hawking the Tribeca-produced Sundance documentary about his artist father, "Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr.," which is airing on HBO, and accepting a rare honor from The Friars Club in New York.
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Robert De Niro

We all know that Robert De Niro is a far better screen actor than he is public figure. Journalists dread interviews with the famously monosyllabic star. But this year De Niro is suddenly everywhere: at Tribeca, his New York film festival, and hawking the Tribeca-produced Sundance documentary about his artist father, "Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr.," which debuted on June 9 on HBO. 

And now, The Friars Club in New York, which is best known for its celebrity roasts, is giving the screen icon a rare honor. Once a year, the private club, whose members mostly come from the worlds of film and entertainment, gather to playfully cut down one of their own. This year, though, the club is doing something its has done only four times before: giving out the Entertainment Icon Award, its highest honor. De Niro joins the small and somewhat unexpected club of past honorees: Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Douglas Fairbanks and...Tom Cruise.

Jerry Lewis, the Friars Club's 'abbot,' said of De Niro in a statement, "He is the reason we have the words 'great actor.' He's a good man and an incredible human being."

De Niro will receive the award at a black tie gala on October 7 for the Friars Foundation, the charitable arm of the eponymous club.  Next up for the actor: "The Bag Man," a crime drama from first-time director David Grovic.

This article is related to: Robert De Niro, HBO Films, HBO , HBO, Documentary, Documentaries, Tribeca Film Institute, Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Film


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.