Hollywood royalty came together last week.
Dame Judi Dench and screen icon Kirk Douglas met for the first time ahead of Dench receiving the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Nov. 30. Since the 100-year-old actor was unable to attend, he invited Dench to his Los Angeles home the day before the ceremony.
“I will never forget this moment,” Dench tells PEOPLE of meeting Douglas in this week’s issue. “He is a legend in our family.”
The day after the two swapped stories and bonded over their shared Dec. 9 birthday — she turns 83, he hits 101 — Dench was honored in a ceremony honoring her expansive career. With over 50 tables all named after her movies, guests celebrated the screen legend as some of her past costars and leading names in Hollywood spoke in her behalf.
Tributes were given by Jeff Bridges, Armie Hammer, and her Victoria & Abdul co-star Ali Fazal, who flew over 20 hours from India to be there for her. Fazal said that one of the best pieces of advice Dench gave him was “learn your lines and don’t bump into furniture.”
Dench, for her part, was delighted with the honor, saying it was one of the “best parties I’ve ever been to.”