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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 10:34 GMT
Emotional film tribute to Harris
Harris' granddaughter Ella and sons (from left) Damian, Jamie and Jared
Harris' granddaughter Ella and sons (from left) Damian, Jamie and Jared
A special acting award has been accepted by relatives of late screen star Richard Harris on Wednesday after the honour was created to recognise his career.

The actor's three sons and granddaughter paid an emotional tribute to him as they accepted the outstanding contribution honour at the British Independent Film Awards (Bifa) in London.

Richard Harris
Richard Harris died on Friday, aged 72
The award was created after he lost out on the best actor prize for one of his last films.

Organisers said they wanted to pay homage to Harris, who died on Friday, for his contribution to independent and British film.

In an emotional speech, Harris's son Jared thanked Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern for his tribute, the rugby clubs of Limerick for their minute's silence and the UK press for treating his parting "with such dignity and respect".

The star's granddaughter Ella said it meant "so much to see how everyone cared so much about my granddad" before breaking down in tears.

Another son, Jamie, who was joined on stage by his brother Damian, added that the Bifa honour was an appropriate award "because he was truly an independent man".

BIFA winners
Best film: Sweet Sixteen
Best actor: James Nesbitt
Best actress: Samantha Morton
Most promising newcomer: Martin Compston
Best director: Paul Greengrass

Harris had been up for the best actor prize - but that award went to James Nesbitt for his role in the controversial docu-drama Bloody Sunday.

Harris, who was 72, was nominated for his role in My Kingdom, an update of Shakespeare's King Lear.

He recently found renewed fame after appearing in the Harry Potters, but also earned two Oscar nominations during his career and won acclaim for roles in Gladiator, This Sporting Life and Unforgiven.

Another posthumous honour was given to former Beatle George Harrison.

Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton is seen as a rising star
His lifetime achievement award was for his work with his company, Handmade Films, which made Monty Python's Life of Brian, Time Bandits and Withnail and I.

His widow, Olivia, and son, Dhani, made a rare public appearance to accept it.

Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam said: "It's taken him to die to be recognised, but that's just as well as he hated awards.

"George meant everything to Monty Python. Without him there would have been no Life of Brian."

The night's top award, for best British independent film, went to Ken Loach's gritty drama Sweet Sixteen, about a Scottish teenager who struggles to rebuild his family when his mother is released from prison.

Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor picked up a "personality award"
Its lead actor, Martin Compston - who had never acted before - was named most promising newcomer.

Another rising star, Samantha Morton - who recently starred opposite Tom Cruise - won the best actress prize for playing the lead role in Lynne Ramsay's film Morvern Callar.

With seven nominations in total, Morvern Callar led the field going into the ceremony.

Bloody Sunday, about the tragic day in Northern Ireland in January 1972, also won an award for its director, Paul Greengrass.

It has previously won a string of awards at European film festivals, but attracted controversy for its representation of the day's events.

Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor was among the other winners, collecting a special "personality award".


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23 Oct 02 | Entertainment
25 Oct 01 | Entertainment
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