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Award for Sir John

PUBLISHED: 07:07 02 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:06 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK-born film legend Sir John Mills was set to be honoured with a British Academy Fellowship at a special Bafta tribute tonight.

The fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed on an individual in recognition of an outstanding contribution to world cinema.

SUFFOLK-born film legend Sir John Mills was set to be honoured with a British Academy Fellowship at a special Bafta tribute tonight.

The fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed on an individual in recognition of an outstanding contribution to world cinema.

The 94-year-old joins film greats such as Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick and Warren Beatty, who received the award last year.

Sir John has graced stage and screen for more than 60 years, starting as a £4-a-week chorus boy at the London Hippodrome in 1929 after leaving his Felixstowe home.

He has starred in more than 100 films, won an Oscar in 1971 and was knighted in 1976.

He once said: "I'm not one of those who decry Oscars - ever since school I've always liked the idea of competition and prizes."

Speaking of the latest award, President of the British Academy Lord Attenborough, referred to Sir John as 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.

Factfile:

Born in February 1908, the son of a Suffolk teacher,

He served in the Royal Engineers in the Second World War.

Sir John married Lady Mary Mills in 1941.

Sir John's character portrayal of a deformed mute in Ryan's Daughter gave him his greatest triumph - a Hollywood Oscar in 1971.

A knighthood for the actor's services to film followed in 1976.

His two daughters, Hayley and Juliet, followed him on to the stage.

Ipswich's Sir John Mills Theatre is named after him.

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