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'Man of the Year' DeNiro Shyly Accepts Pudding Pot

By Eileen M. Smith

When you look like Robert DeNiro, you don't have to say much.

The star of "Taxi Driver" and "Mean Streets" was modestly taciturn last night as he received the Hasty Pudding Theatricals' Man of the Year Award.

DeNiro appeared on stage briefly before the opening curtain rose on the Pudding's 131st production, "Overtures in Asia Minor."

Three Pudding members presented the actor with the traditional gold pudding pot for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry."

No Pudding, No Speech

DeNiro took a moment to read the pot shyly before glancing up in acknowledgement of the audience's applause.

"It doesn't have any pudding in it...I thought it would have pudding in it. But thanks anyway." And that was all he said.

For his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone in "Godfather II," the Pudding awarded the actor "the Checkers speech award for the most sensitive portrayal of actions normally considered criminal."

Continuing to emphasize DeNiro's tough, silent roles the three emcees gave the star a "National Rifle Association Award" for "upholding the adage that guns don't kill people. Cab drivers do."

Oily

Even when the Pudding men presented him with "the prestigious OPEC award," alluding to the hefty $5 admission charge to his new movie, "The Deer Hunter," DeNiro grinned sheepishly.

The grand entrance and the grand exit were not for the reclusive DeNiro. He slipped into the Hasty Pudding Club by a back entrance, and after accepting his award, blended into the audience to view the Pudding's burlesque.

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