American Film Institute postpones Julie Andrews gala evening amid virus fears

The Sound Of Music star had been due to receive a lifetime achievement award on April 25.

The American Film Institute is postponing its 48th annual AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute honouring Julie Andrews in an apparent response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

The organisation had originally planned to give Andrews its Life Achievement Award on April 25 in Los Angeles. The event will be rescheduled for early summer.

AFI president Bob Gazzale said: “AFI’s decision to postpone the event is simply in response to the rapidly evolving nature of current events and our promise to ensure the well-being of the artists and audience that gather each year to celebrate America’s art form.

“This move will allow our full attention to focus on the many gifts that Julie Andrews has given the world.”

The AFI did not directly cite the virus outbreak that officials in numerous countries including the US are trying to contain.

Julie Andrews
Andrews won an Oscar for the starring role in Mary Poppins (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The postponement is one of several changes that have been made in recent days to entertainment industry events, including Friday’s decision to cancel the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and a move earlier this week to delay the release of the new James Bond Film No Time To Die to later this year.

Andrews’ acting career has spanned several decades. She won an Academy Award in 1965 for her starring role in Mary Poppins.

She also starred in The Sound Of Music and The Princess Diaries.

The 84-year-old won two Grammy Awards and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Andrews will be the 48th recipient of the prestigious honour from the AFI, joining Mel Brooks, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, George Clooney and Denzel Washington.

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