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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 18:11 GMT
Neeson collects OBE from Queen
Liam Neeson awarded OBE
Neeson shows off his OBE at the palace
Actor Liam Neeson has revealed he was shaking with fear as he collected an OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Neeson, 50, co-star of the newly-released underwater action film K-19: The Widowmaker, was given the honour in the New Year Honours 2000 - but waited two-and-a-half years to pick up his honour.

"I've not been so nervous since I met Muhammad Ali," he said. "I really was weak-kneed."

Liam Neeson
He has starred in more than 30 films
"She asked me if the award was for theatre or films and I said I thought it was for both," said Neeson, who was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

"She said, 'That's nice'."

His wife, actress Natasha Richardson, could not be at the ceremony as she was at the couple's New York home looking after their two young sons.

"I've got a green card and I'm a resident alien in New York," said Neeson, star of blockbusters like Schindler's List and Star Wars film The Phantom Menace.

IRA statue

"I wasn't in New York on 11 September but I think the city is still reeling a bit. Our local fire station in Manhattan is called Ladder 35 and they lost 11 men."


I don't want to get involved in Irish politics

Liam Neeson
Neeson starred in the title role of a film about IRA leader Michael Collins and unveiled a statue to him in the Irish Republic.

"I don't want to get involved in Irish politics; I would get into trouble," he said diplomatically.

An amateur boxer in his school days, he later met his idol Ali at London's Dorchester Hotel in 1981.

His break in acting came at Belfast's Lyric Theatre.

"It's been famine and feast," he said. "Now I get a lot of scripts to choose from."

A veteran of more than 30 films, he has just finished a romantic comedy called Love Actually, written and directed by Richard Curtis.

See also:

25 Oct 02 | Reviews
08 Mar 00 | N Ireland
21 Mar 02 | N Ireland
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