Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson to Get AFI Honorary Degrees

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Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees will be bestowed on the screenwriter and the actress at the AFI Conservatory's commencement ceremony on June 11.

The American Film Institute will confer honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees on screenwriter Robert Towne and actress Cicely Tyson at the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony on June 11 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Both Towne and Tyson will be recognized for their “contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image.”

Robert Towne is a four-time Academy Award nominee and Oscar winner for his screenplay for 1974’s Chinatown. His screenwriting credits also include The Last Detail, Shampoo, Days of Thunder and The Firm, as well as 1996’s Mission: Impossible and 2000’s Mission: Impossible II. Towne, who is a consulting producer on the final season of Mad Men, has also directed four films based on his screenplays: Personal Best, Tequila Sunrise, Without Limits and Ask the Dust.  

Tyson received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in 1972’s Sounder and has won Primetime Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. She has appeared in eight Broadway plays, most recently starring in The Trip to Bountiful, for which she received the Tony for best actress in 2013. Her film credits also include Fried Green Tomatoes and The Help. A 1977 alumna of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, she directed the short film Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn, and she also served on the AFI Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1978.