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"I had no idea" - acting legend John Hurt adds a knighthood to his list of accolades

PUBLISHED: 08:48 31 December 2014

Actor John Hurt in Cromer.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Actor John Hurt in Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

Veteran actor John Hurt's accolades include four Bafta's, two Oscar nominations and numerous film festival awards, but now a knighthood has been added to his list.

Stephen Fry hands over a mystery script to actor John Hurt to perform at The Auden Theatre, Holt.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYStephen Fry hands over a mystery script to actor John Hurt to perform at The Auden Theatre, Holt. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Already a Commander of the British Empire, the 74-year-old north Norfolk resident’s honour recognises more than five decades in the film industry.

“I was so surprised,” said Sir John, who lives near Cromer with his wife Anwen Rees-Myers. “I had no idea. I hadn’t done anything to encourage it, someone must have been saying very sweet things on my behalf.”

And while most may know him for his performances on the silver screen, in films such as Alien and V for Vendetta, he has also had an impact on Norfolk.

Sir John has been involved in Holt Festival, turned on last year’s Cromer Christmas lights and is chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts.

Alien

John Hurt

© 20th Century Fox
EADT 24 03 06Alien John Hurt © 20th Century Fox EADT 24 03 06

He is patron of the charity Cinema Plus, the education arm of Norfolk and Norwich Film Theatre Ltd which founded Cinema City in 1978.

Comparing the knighthood to his other honours, Sir John said: “It is not the same as a Bafta and things like that because they are directly involved in the business I am in. This is a different sign of recognition and it is greatly appreciated.”

The father-of-two said he was getting over a cold when he heard the news, and said he was asked to keep it “under his hat”.

The star said it was difficult to choose a moment in his long career for which he was most proud. “It’s a bit like being asked who your favourite child is,” he said. “All my children are my favourite in different ways.”

But he listed the 1966-film A Man for All Seasons, Midnight Express, The Elephant Man, as films which were “wonderfully received”.

He added: “I loved making Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Champions.

“There is plenty more to do. The one nice thing about the business I am in is that you go along through life playing the age you are and not many businesses are like that.”

Sir John was born in Chesterfield, the son of a vicar, he won a scholarship from RADA, and made his state debut in 1962.

He can be heard today on BBC Radio 4, in a 10-hour production of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace, from 9am.

■Ronald Cox, from Holt, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to education and to the community in Holt and Kelling.

Mr Cox is long-serving warden for St Mary the Virgin church in Kelling.

He also received the award for 60 years of representing examination boards.

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