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Friday, 18 February, 2000, 17:02 GMT
O'Toole honoured at Oliviers

Lady Olivier with Peter O'Toole Outstanding winner: Lady Olivier with Peter O'Toole

Veteran actor Peter O'Toole has been honoured with an outstanding achievement accolade at the Laurence Olivier Awards in London.

He was presented with the award by Lady Olivier in a ceremony at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End for his contribution to British theatre.

Accepting his prize, O'Toole thanked writer Keith Waterhouse for giving him the chance to return to the spotlight in his play Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell at the Old Vic.

Barbara Dickson Barbara Dickson: Best actress in a musical
He said: "Good parts make good actors."

Barbara Dickson took Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Viv Nicholson in Spend Spend Spend, about a housewife who won a fortune on the pools in the 1960s.

She joked: "I've cornered the market now in downtrodden northern women in pinnies, so don't bother going up for any of them, because they're mine."

But neither Spend Spend Spend nor its Disney rival The Lion King took the Best Musical prize, which went to Honk! The Ugly Duckling, which is directed by television actress Julia McKenzie.

 Jason Priestley with Patricia Hodge Stage stars: Jason Priestley with Patricia Hodge
Lyricist Anthony Drewe, who accepted Honk!'s prize, said: "I guess the judges couldn't get tickets for The Lion King."

The Lion King's director, Julie Taymor did win Best Costume Designer, but was pipped to Best Director by the National Theatre's Trevor Nunn.

But Nunn paid tribute to her, saying: "I suppose if I had a casting vote in this category, I would award it to Julie, because I think she's brilliant and has the potential to take the theatre somewhere other than we recognise at the moment."

Trevor Nunn Trevor Nunn: Paid tribute to Lion King director
Best Actor in a Musical went to Simon Russell Beale for Candide at the National Theatre, while Henry Goodman won Best Actor for the National's production of Merchant of Venice. Janie Dee piroutted onto the stage to pick up her Best Actress award for Sir Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potentialat the Lyric.

Patricia Hodge received her Best Supporting Actress award from former Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestley for her role in Money at the National. Hodge's co-star, Roger Allam, won Best Supporting Actor. Priestley is about to star in Sideman at the Apollo theatre.

Australian comedian Mark Little accepted Best Entertainment for his show Defending the Caveman, while the National's production of Candide won Outstanding Musical.

The BBC Best New Play Award went to Goodnight Children Everywhere by Richard Nelson, from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Oliviers started as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and became the Olivier Awards in 1984.

This year's ceremony can be seen on BBC Two at 2000 GMT on Sunday.

Click here to read a full list of winners.

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See also:
18 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Olivier awards: Winners in full
05 Aug 99 |  Entertainment
O'Toole's triumphant return
22 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Lion King's awards triumph
26 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Barbara's bonanza year
13 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
Hit shows in awards duel

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