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Sean Penn does Robert De Niro proud at AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards

February 17, 2010 |  5:50 pm

Sean penn robert de niro2 Though he hasn't had the rosiest past, loose cannon Sean Penn got a huge pat on the back from his friend Robert De Niro last night.

Penn was tapped to present De Niro with the lifetime achievement award at AARP The Magazine's Movies for Grownups Awards for 2010. 

"Who knew that such a bad boy would grow up to be such a good man?" De Niro said of Penn, who blushed.

At the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel Tuesday night for the awards, I spotted Penn several times working on his introduction speech, at one point on his knees at a banquet table scribbling notes. In his intro, Penn talked about the first time he met the acting legend.

At New York's Odeon, they were both at a dinner that ended in a screaming match. Penn stormed away from the table (which also held Joe Pesci) and threw all the cash he had at De Niro. In a cab en route to his "Hell's Kitchen cubicle," Penn realized he had empty pockets.

He instructed the driver to go back to the restaurant, stormed back in and grabbed one of his twenties.

"You can pay the tip!" he barked at Pesci and De Niro.

AARP handed out trophies to Jeff Bridges, presented by his "Crazy Heart" costar Maggie Gyllenhaal. Billy Crystal, Jeremy Piven, Morgan Freeman and Shirley Jones were also present in the house.

-- Matt Donnelly 

Photo: Robert De Niro and Sean Penn on Feb. 16, 2010, at AARP The Magazine's Movies for Grownups Awards. Credit: A. Rodriguez / WireImage.

It's that time of year -- for dispatches from the Golden Globe Awards, including red carpet video interviews and a live-tweet play-by-play of the event, click here. If you prefer the SAG Awards (Jeff Bridges and Betty White were there), click this delicious link. And if you don't care a whit about awards but simply enjoy unbridled snark on a number of different subjects as non-awardsy as Kevin Smith and , click here and see what you get. And if you want to think deep thoughts about John Mayer -- actual thoughtful conversation, no lie, it's not what you're thinking -- try this one.

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