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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 08:11 GMT
Sir John Mills gets Bafta honour
Sir John Mills receiving his Bafta fellowship
A ceremony was held in Sir John's honour on Monday
Actor Sir John Mills has been given a special honour by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) to mark his contribution to cinema during a career spanning more than 60 years.

The 94-year-old veteran received a Bafta fellowship, the highest accolade bestowed by the academy.


Sir John is a uniquely dominant figure in the history of British cinema

Lord Attenborough
Bafta president
He joins film greats such as Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg, who have all been given the award in the past.

Sir John attended the presentation ceremony at the Bafta headquarters in central London on Monday.

The award was made in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to world cinema".

Paying tribute to Sir John, Bafta president Lord Attenborough said he was a "unique" actor.

"Sir John is a uniquely dominant figure in the history of British cinema and he has been my closest friend for 60 years," he said.

Joan Collins at Bafta
Joan Collins was among the stars at the ceremony
The ceremony came just months after the veteran spent several days in hospital with a chest infection.

It was the latest in a number of health scares, although he has made several films despite eye problems which left him almost blind.

Sir John was born in February 1908, the son of a Suffolk teacher.

He moved to London at the age of 20 as a commercial traveller selling disinfectant door-to-door.

In 1929 he made his first foray into showbusiness as a 4-a-week chorus boy at the London Hippodrome.

International fame

His long film career began in the 1930s, with films such as The Midshipmaid in 1932 and OHMS in 1937.

But it was his role in Goodbye Mr Chips in 1939 that first brought him to international prominence.

His patriotic roles in such films as Ice Cold in Alex, Above Us The Waves, Dunkirk, Scott of The Antarctic and Tunes of Glory brought him more accolades.

A veteran of more than 100 films, he won an Oscar in 1971 for Ryan's Daughter and was knighted in 1976 for his services to film.

See also:

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