dedicated his Friars Club award to his friend Robin Williams.
The veteran actor was honoured with the Entertainment Icon Award at the Friars Foundation's annual gala at the Waldorf-Astoria which also honoured Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Award for Philanthropy, reported Ace showbiz.
At one point at the event, Penny Marshall showed a scene from Awakenings, which starred De Niro and Williams.
When De Niro received his award, he said he could not watch it without thinking "how much I miss Robin Williams".
"If you know me, you know how much I like to laugh. And no one made me laugh like Robin. Of course, it was more than the jokes. He had so much humanity. Just look at his face in that scene. He was a wonderful actor, sure but those feelings were real. No one could fake that kind of love and compassion," he said and added "Robin, my dear friend, I dedicate this award to you."
The 71-year-old actor was joined by his wife Grace Hightower and children, Drena De Niro and Raphael De Niro at the event.
Tony Bennett, Sharon Stone, Orlando Bloom, Edward Norton and Christopher Walken were among the attendees.