And helping celebrate the honour was his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Swansea-born beauty slipped on her dancing shoes to join the cast of A Chorus Line for a musical number similar to those she delivered in the movie Chicago.
Other proud family members on hand to see the 64-year-old honoured were his dad, Kirk Douglas, and his stepmum Anne. Fellow stalwarts from the acting scene were there, too, including Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. Martin Sheen, Tobey Maguire and Benicio Del Toro also turned out for MIchael's big night.
The black-tie AFI Achievement Awards ceremony was not without drama - albeit well rehearsed. In tribute to the man of the moment's climatic entrance in The Game, guests were surprised by a stunt man plunging through a fake ceiling as the events kicked off . Other highlights from the evening came courtesy of Michael's 92-year-old father, who gave a moving speech, and Bob Dylan who made an unannounced musical appearance on stage.
Jack had been given the task of presenting Michael with his award, and as he handed over the gong the actor, who starred in the 1975 classic One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, which Michael produced, spoke of his admiration for his fellow screen veteran. "I've had so many of my high moments and so many of my fine moments with you," he said.
For his part Michael jokingly thanked the NBA for ensuring the LA Lakers, of which Jack is a huge fan, were playing away so the As Good As It Gets star could attend. He also paid tribute to his parents for his "acting DNA".