The actor attended the Stella by Starlight Gala in New York to present the Oscar-nominated American Beauty star with an award, and he made an impromptu speech praising her onscreen talents and her taming of her husband, notorious womaniser Warren Beatty.
Douglas, who starred with Bening in 1995 movie The American President, told fellow guests, “I’m still trying to figure out how Annette got Warren Beatty to settle down and get married. Think about what a great actress Annette Bening is… She and I had this amazing on-camera chemistry.”
And Bening returned the compliment, adding: “While I was making The American President, no acting was required because, like my character, I fell in love with Michael Douglas.”
Bening was given the Stella Adler Award, while fellow honorees included Liza Minnelli, who received the Marlon Brando Award. The annual gala raises funds for charitable programs sponsored by New York’s Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where legendary screen stars including Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel learned their trade.