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Legendary Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly will receive BAFTA’s highest honor, the BAFTA Fellowship award, for his contributions to television.
The 79-year-old Connolly is already a multi-BAFTA winner, having picked up his first trophy in 1995 in the BAFTA Scotland Entertainment category for his comedy album Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland. He was presented with a BAFTA Special Award in 2002 and also got the BAFTA Scotland Outstanding Contribution to Television and Film award in 2012. The multi-hyphenate is also a multi-BAFTA nominee, including a BAFTA best actor nom for his dramatic performance opposite Oscar winner Judi Dench in John Madden’s Mrs. Brown (1997). American viewers also know him as one quarter of the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet (2012), in which he starred alongside Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins, as well as the voice of King Fergus in Pixar’s Brave (2012).
Knighted Sir Billy Connolly in 2017 for his “services to entertainment and charity,” Connolly now joins the select club of BAFTA Fellows, a group that includes such luminaries as actor/comedians Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, documentarian David Attenborough, actor Julie Walters and Monty Python co-founder Michael Palin.
Emma Baehr, executive director of awards and content at BAFTA, called Connolly “a natural treasure onstage and screen” and “adored by fans around the world.”
“I am deeply honored. 50 films and … I can’t remember how many TV shows — as well as my stage comedy — added up to something that’s a joy to look back on,” Connolly said in a statement. “A lovely thing. I have no regrets at all. I had no idea the Fellowship existed, but I’m told it’s a big deal! It’s lovely to be recognized and to become a jolly good fellow.”
Connolly will be honored by BAFTA at the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards on Sunday, May 8. Currently residing in the U.S., Connolly will be unable to attend in person, but will send a recorded acceptance message that will be played during the ceremony.
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