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Movie stars, comedians, former president toast lifetime achievement-honoree Clooney

Actor/director George Clooney acknowledges applause from the audience as he arrives in the ballroom at the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award gala honoring him at the Dolby Theatre, June 7, 2018, in Los Angeles. Looking on are his wife Amal at far left and his mother Nina and father Nick at far right.
Actor/director George Clooney acknowledges applause from the audience as he arrives in the ballroom at the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award gala honoring him at the Dolby Theatre, June 7, 2018, in Los Angeles. Looking on are his wife Amal at far left and his mother Nina and father Nick at far right. Invision/AP

Kentucky native George Clooney was saluted by his colleagues in the entertainment industry and even by former President Barack Obama while accepting the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award earlier this month.

At just 57 years old, Clooney became a fairly-young recipient of the award, which is considered the highest honor for a career in film. The TNT Special "AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To George Clooney" will air at 10 p.m. Thursday.

In his illustrious career that skyrocketed when he became a star of the NBC hospital drama "ER" in 1994, Clooney has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and has won two.

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George Clooney accepts the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award during a gala ceremony in Los Angeles. The ceremony will air on TNT June 21. Chris Pizzello Invision/AP

Bill Murray, Jennifer Aniston, Don Cheadle, Courtney Cox, Laura Dern, Diane Keaton, Jimmy Kimmel, Anna Kendrick, Cate Blanchett and Shirley MacLaine were among the entertainers who celebrated Clooney's career at the gala dinner in Los Angeles earlier this month, which also included an appearance from Obama via videotape.

"(Clooney) does the whole grey hair thing better than me," Obama stated. He also said of Clooney: “He is a good man, a good friend, a good citizen and an outstanding maker of film.”

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Actress Cate Blanchett addresses the audience during the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award gala ceremony honoring George Clooney at the Dolby Theatre, June 7 in Los Angeles. (And no, those are not tattoos. They are part of her dress.) Chris Pizzello Invision/AP

Born in Lexington in 1961 and primarily raised in Augusta, Clooney made the move from TV to movies in the '90s and has appeared in such films as "Ocean's Eleven," "Up in the Air," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Syriana" and "Good Night, and Good Luck." He has also spent time behind the camera as a director and writer of movies.

His next project is a Hulu miniseries adaptation of "Catch-22," in which he will direct, produce and star.

During the gala, Murray called Clooney "the most decent person I have ever worked with" and Kendrick told the Kentucky native "you're a good guy in everything that you do."

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Actor Bill Murray addresses the audience during the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award gala ceremony honoring actor and director George Clooney June 7. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Other recent recipients of the AFI Life Achievement Award include Diane Keaton, John Williams, Steve Martin, Jane Fonda and Mel Brooks. Clooney is the youngest person to win it since Meryl Streep did so in 2004 at 54 years old.

Clooney said the honor was very special and one he will treasure.

“I love being a part of this industry,” Clooney said as he accepted the award. "I'm very proud of the changes I'm seeing in this industry. They're much overdue."

Clooney's wife, Amal Clooney, also spoke at the event, as well as his dad, Nick Clooney.

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Amal Clooney addresses the audience during the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award gala ceremony honoring her husband, actor and director George Clooney. Chris Pizzello Invision/AP

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