Mel Brooks Receives BFI Fellowship

Mel Brooks AFI Awards - P 2012
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Mel Brooks AFI Awards - P 2012

The Fellowship is the British Film Institute's highest honor.

Celebrated multihyphenate Mel Brooks has been awarded the British Film Institute's highest honor, the BFI Fellowship.

At a private dinner hosted by BFI chair Greg Dyke in London on Friday, the comedy giant said he was "surprised and delighted" to receive the accolade. "Not many Americans have been offered this prestigious award — and for good reason," he said.

John Hurt, also a BFI Fellow and star of Brooks films including History of the World: Part I and Spaceballs, gave a citation at the event, which was also attended by Terry Gilliam, Mike Leigh and Simon Pegg.

"His brilliant wit and satire have continued to surprise and delight and, sometimes, astonish, as he delights in flouting convention, taking comedy to areas once held taboo," said Dyke, adding that Brooks had "made the world a much funnier place."

A major influential force in U.S. comedy since 1968's The Producers and its famed musical number "Springtime for Hitler," Brooks pushed satirical boundaries with films such as Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974) and Spaceballs (1987). Now 88 years old, he is set to voice a character in Sony's upcoming animated Hotel Transylvania 2.