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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Caine leads showbiz honours
Sir Michael Caine and Michael Parkinson
Taking the Michael: Sir Michael Caine with Michael Parkinson
Hollywood superstar Michael Caine has led a host of celebrities receiving awards in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The 67-year-old British actor became Sir Michael, as was widely predicted, when the list was published on Friday.

Veteran chat show host Michael Parkinson was also rewarded for services to the entertainment industry with a CBE.


Carol Vorderman
Countdown to success: TV presenter Carol Vorderman

Elsewhere in the world of showbusiness it was women who dominated the Birthday Honours List.

Soap stars Wendy Richard, who plays Pauline Fowler in EastEnders, and Liz Dawn - Coronation Street's Vera Duckworth - both received MBEs, as did television presenter Carol Vorderman.

Author Beryl Bainbridge was made a dame, while award-winning Welsh actress Sian Phillips became a CBE.

Sixites singer and Eurovision Contest winner Lulu recieved the OBE, as did Joanne Rowling, best-selling author of the Harry Potter books.

Greatest honour

Sir Michael responded to news of his knighthood by saying: "It's the greatest honour I've ever had, or am likely to have, in my life and I am very quietly but so ecstatically happy."


Sir Michael Caine
Sir Michael won a Best Supporting Oscar for The Cider House Rules

The actor was speaking from Texas where he is working on a new comedy, Miss Congeniality, with the American actress Sandra Bullock.

Born Maurice Micklewhite in South London, Sir Michael began life as a fish porter before finding fame on the big screen with films like Alfie, Zulu, Get Carter and The Italian Job.



It's the greatest honour I've ever had, or am likely to have, in my life and I am very quietly but so ecstatically happy

Sir Michael Caine
Earlier this year, he claimed he felt like an "outcast" in his own country because of the way he had been treated.

He shocked a London audience when he received his Bafta Fellowship in London by declaring: "I made a lot of spy movies but never The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.

"I felt like the spy who was out there. I never felt I belonged in my own country."

Caine spent years living in America and received a standing ovation at the Academy Awards in March, when he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in The Cider House Rules.

He also won the Best Supporting Actor award for Woody Allen's Hannah and her Sisters in 1986 and has been nominated three times in the Best Actor category for Alfie, Sleuth and Educating Rita.

Charming


Lulu
Something to shout about: Lulu has been made an OBE

Parkinson, 65, has interviewed some of the world's top stars in a TV career spanning more than 30 years.

Muhammad Ali, John Lennon and Princess Anne are among those who have sat alongside him, but his most memorable moment came in 1976, when he was attacked by the late Rod Hull's puppet, Emu.

Renowned for his charming and assured manner, Parky, as he is affectionately known, revived his chat show in the 90s and secured the first British interview with singer George Michael following his arrest in a Los Angeles public toilet.

Other British men honoured in the Birthday List included Sam Mendes, who added an OBE to his best director Oscar for the Hollywood blockbuster American Beauty, which picked up five statuettes in all at this year's ceremony.



This is two consonants and a vowel I'm very proud of

Carol Vorderman

Colin Dexter, the creator of TV's Inspector Morse also picked up an OBE and there was an MBE for veteran rock'n'roller Lonnie Donegan, 67, who returned to the limelight briefly last year with a performance at the Glastonbury Festival.

The Queen Mother's favourite author, Dick Francis, became a CBE and hinted that his retirement might not be too far away.

Francis, 79, admitted: "My new book's called Shattered, and that's how I feel today - shattered to realise I've been awarded this honour. "I've got to stop writing sometime, though. I'm getting too old." Countdown maths wizard Vorderman, 39, described her OBE as "two consonants and a vowel I'm very proud of".


Michael Parkinson and George Michael
Michael Parkinson secured an exclusive interview with pop star George Michael

The presenter, who has an IQ of 169, added: "It's fab news...I know it says this is for services to broadcasting, but I think it's really because I've always tried to popularise maths, sometimes against the odds. I've still got a long way to go - I haven't even started yet."

Street actress Dawn said she was "over the moon" with her MBE.

The 60-year-old star was recognised for her charity and fundraising work - including the foundation of her own Liz Dawn Breast Cancer Appeal.

She said: "I've been involved in charity work for 30 years, but it never crossed my mind that I'd be given an MBE.

"I have met some wonderful people over the years who have given their time and love to those less fortunate. I feel privileged to have met them."

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See also:

16 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Sir Michael: In from the cold
16 Jun 00 | Scotland
Lulu's OBE makes her wanna shout
23 May 00 | Entertainment
Street star takes city honour
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