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Johnny Depp Makes Surprise Appearance at BFI London Film Fest Awards Ceremony

Johnny Depp Headshot - P 2013
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Johnny Depp

The star lauds Christopher Lee as a friend and an inspiration and hands him the BFI Fellowship honor.

Johnny Depp was a surprise guest Saturday night, appearing on stage amid much applause to hand Christopher Lee his award. "It's my great honor to be here," he said, calling Lee "a great man, a very great man indeed."

Lee has been "a wonderful inspiration" to him and many other actors and filmmakers, Depp said.

"It was certainly a childhood dream come true" to work with and learn from Lee, Depp added. He went on to laud Lee as "a true gentleman," "a national treasure" and "a true artist."

STORY: Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Ida' Wins BFI London Film Festival Top Prize 

"I love you," Depp said in finishing.

After a long standing ovation, Lee said on stage: "Johnny, I don't know what to say. I didn't know you were going to be here. It is a very emotional moment for me as you can probably hear."

Someone had told Lee that Depp was making a film "somewhere else in Europe" right now, the veteran actor explained.

Lee said Depp "means an enormous amount to me." And he lauded Depp for being one of the few younger actors "who is a true star." He also called him an actor's and a director's dream to work with.

The two stars appeared together in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow and Dark Shadows.

Describing his emotional state at big celebrations like this, Lee said: "Tearful, no. Fearful, on occasion."

And he quoted someone who once had told him people should try everything -- except for incest and folk dancing.

"I can prove I am not guilty of either one," Lee quipped, highlighting that he has been married for 52 years. He added: "Folk dancing, I don't think that's for me."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai