Senin, 31 Desember 2007

McKellen, Minogue, Potter Stars Treated Royally (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Queen Elizabeth II went to the ends of the (Middle) Earth to select the latest crop of recipients of her annual New Year honors.

Ian McKellen, who will forever be known to some as the wizard Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy but whose 2007 turn as the title character in King Lear made theater tickets sell like $1,000 hotcakes in New York and Los Angeles, was named a Companion of Honor to go along with the knighthood bestowed upon him in 1991.

The 68-year-old stage and screen stars latest title is currently held by only 65 others, including Oscar winners Judi Dench and Paul Scofield and Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, with the sovereign member being the Queen herself.

The 2008 Honors (or, Honours) List further expanded into the multitasking magical set with the naming of Julie Walters, Richard Griffiths and Leslie Phillips, all of the Harry Potter franchise.

Walters, who plays the perennially concerned Mrs. Weasley and whose credits also include Billy Elliott, Calendar Girls and the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Mamma Mia!, was awarded a Commander of the British Empire, meaning she technically now has the right to sign her name Julie Walters, CBE if she so desires.

Mean Uncle Vernon, aka Griffiths, who scored a Tony Award this year for his acclaimed performance as an inspiring yet troubled academic in The History Boys, received an Order of the British Empire, or OBE.

And Phillips, best known in his native England for his comedic roles but perhaps more familiar to American audiences as the voice of the Sorting Hat, also was given a CBE. The 83-year-old actors face was last seen in the Peter OToole vehicle Venus.

But you dont have to be a Brit to rank with the Queen.

Australian pop star and breast cancer survivor Kylie Minogue was also among the list of OBE recipients.

I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way, the Cant Get You Out of My Head singer told Britains Sky News. I am almost as surprised as I am honored to be awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen.

This last year I have felt so much love and support from everyone as I took greater steps back into the public domain, and it is with absolute gratitude and joy that I say farewell to 2007 and look forward to what the New Year will bring.

Other entertainment industry figures among the 972 honorees included Barbara Broccoli, coproducer of the James Bond films (OBE); Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson (Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE); and Soul II Soul frontman Trevor Romeo, aka Jazzie B (OBE).

The Queens New Year Honors List, which recognizes people for their contributions to their industries or communities, included in 2008 actors and TV personalities, musicians, artists, authors, designers, sports stars, businessmen, lower-profile civilians such as teachers and bus drivers, and members of the Queens own staff.

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