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Smithsonian to make Eastwood's day

Tuesday - 1/31/2012, 4:25am  ET

Spielberg and Eastwood (AP)
Director Steven Spielberg, left, is seen with actor Clint Eastwood at the AFI Awards in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

Nathan Hager, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian is going ahead and making Clint Eastwood's day.

The 81-year-old actor-director will get the red carpet treatment Wednesday night, as the Smithsonian Institution presents him with the James Smithson Bicentennial Award, an honor established in 1965 in recognition of the 200th anniversary of Smithsonian founder James Smithson's birth.

The award has gone to a number of distinguished artists and scientists over the years, including Robert Redford in 1990, George Lucas in 1997 and Steven Spielberg in 1999.

Eastwood is already a Kennedy Center honoree and has won numerous awards during his six decades in front of and behind the camera, including Oscars, Golden Globes and life achievement awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the American Film Institute.

Now, the Smithsonian is giving the Dirty Harry star the red carpet treatment.

The award ceremony this week also will mark the grand opening of the Warner Bros. Theater at the National Museum of American History.

The studio donated $5 million in September 2010 to convert the museum's Carmichael Auditorium into a cinema with digital 3D and 35-mm projection.

A new exhibit will accompany the theater featuring memorabilia from Warner Bros.' past, including studio founder Jack Warner's silver telephone, costumes worn by Eastwood, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman; Bugs Bunny animation stills and Harry Potter's robe.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)