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Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 23:04 GMT
Dame Judi's Bafta honour
dame judi dench
Dame Judi is globally respected as an actress
Dame Judi Dench has received a Bafta Academy Fellowship recognising her outstanding contribution to film and television throughout her long and varied career.

The accolade is the highest bestowed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Dame Judi, who turned 67 on Sunday, joins the likes of Sir Michael Caine and Stanley Kubrick who have also been honoured with fellowships.

The British actress received the accolade at a star-studded tribute on Sunday, which will be shown on BBC One in January.

Dame Judi
Dame Judi in the role that earned her an Oscar
She was honoured by fellow actors including Pierce Brosnan, Joseph Fiennes, Dame Maggie Smith, Simon Callow, Richard Briers, Billy Connolly and Geoffrey Palmer.

And film tributes were sent by Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh.

Several stars paid tribute to the realism of her performances.

Actress Kate Winslet said of Dame Judi: "It's a case of don't act - be," and Jim Broadbent, who stars opposite her in her latest film, Iris, spoke of her "extraordinary instinct".

Kevin Spacey, who starred with her in The Shipping News said: "She's not a bad pool player and cheats at pingpong. I am completely and absolutely in love with her."

Dame Judi, Geoffrey Palmer
With Geoffrey Palmer in As Time Goes By
Richard E Grant described her as "a kind of dwarfish riot... the funniest woman I have ever met."

"There isn't a man she has ever worked with who hasn't fallen slap bang for her."

Dame Judi, who admitted to hating seeing herself on screen, said she had not seen Room with a View, Handful of Dust or Chocolat.

"I want to change it and it can't be changed," she said, adding that she liked the stage because she had "more chance" to adjust her performances.

She also said her nerves had got worse since she had got older, saying: "I was very, very frightened for the first Bond film."

Dame Judi
Dame Judi won an Academy Award

The show's host, Stephen Fry, added Dame Judi was "a woman who is the best of British. I am simply proud to share a land mass with her".

Dame Judi was born in York in 1934, and studied drama at the Central School in London.

One of her earliest stage appearances was Ophelia in the Old Vic's 1957 Liverpool production of Hamlet, which she followed with a series of Shakespearean roles with the company.

In 1961 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and three years later appeared in her first film, The Third Secret.

She is probably best-known to the public for her film and television roles.

Oscar

She has won Baftas five times before, including awards for best actress, for the sitcom A Fine Romance, in which she starred with her late husband, Michael Williams.

In 1999 she won her first Oscar as best supporting actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.

Dame Judi was nominated last year for her role in the film Chocolat.

Other acclaimed recent performances include her Queen Victoria, in the film Mrs Brown, and M, the female head of the British secret service in the latest James Bond movie.

See also:

09 Dec 01 | Arts
Dame Judi's illustrious career
30 Nov 01 | Film
One great Dame plays another
22 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
British dreams of Hollywood stardom
02 Apr 99 | The Oscars 1999
Those who decide Britain's Oscar fortunes
19 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Prince rooting for Dame Judi
22 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
Oscar night in pictures
22 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
Oscars glory for Brits
15 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Actor Michael Williams dies
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