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Screen stars receive UK honours

Ridley Scott becomes Sir Ridley
Ridley Scott becomes Sir Ridley

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LONDON, England -- Hollywood film director Ridley Scott is to receive a knighthood after being named in the UK New Year honours list drawn up by the Queen.

Scott, director of "Gladiator" and "Hannibal," said he was "truly humbled" by the honour.

Sir Ridley -- as he will be known -- was named a Knights Bachelor for his services to the British film industry in a career which has produced films such as "Alien," "Blade Runner," "Black Hawk Down" and "Thelma and Louise."

"As a boy growing up in South Shields, I could never have imagined that I would receive such a special recognition. I am extremely honoured to be awarded a knighthood," he told the UK Press Association.

"I am truly humbled to receive this treasured award and believe it also further recognises the excellence of the British film industry."

Scott's "Gladiator" was nominated for 12 Oscars and carried away the award for best picture.

There is also a knighthood for Alan Bates, whose stage and screen career spans six decades.

He made his reputation early in his career as one of the original "angry young men" of the post-war English theatre, starring in such key productions as John Osborne's famous "Look Back in Anger."

He starred in a string of classic British '60s films, including "A Kind of Loving," "Whistle Down The Wind" and "The Caretaker," but his superstar status was confirmed with starring roles in big-screen adaptations of "Far From The Madding Crowd" and "Women In Love."

Jean Simmons, who receives an OBE, in a scene from 'Spartacus'
Jean Simmons, who receives an OBE, in a scene from 'Spartacus'

Other film hits include "Zorba The Greek" and "The Go-Between."

He most recently appeared in the Oscar-winning film "Gosford Park" and was the villain in "The Sum Of All Fears."

Also honoured is film legend Jean Simmons, 73, who receives an OBE (Order of the British Empire).

The British-born star, one of Hollywood's most popular leading ladies in the 1940s and 1950s, is honoured for her services to acting.

She earned her first Oscar nomination for her role in Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" aged 19, and appeared in classic films including "Great Expectations," "The Robe," "Guys And Dolls" and "Spartacus."

She was last seen on the big screen with Winona Ryder in the 1995 film "How To Make An American Quilt."

In 1970 she earned her second Oscar nomination for her lead role as alienated housewife Mary Wilson in Brooks's film "The Happy Ending."

Brenda Blethyn gets an OBE
Brenda Blethyn gets an OBE

Another double Oscar-nominee to be recognised in the honours is "Saving Grace" actress Brenda Blethyn, who also gets an OBE.

Blethyn won a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA, and was nominated for an Oscar, in 1996 for her role "Secrets and Lies" and virtually stole all her scenes in "Little Voice."

An OBE also goes to Edward Fox, famous to an international audience as the star of the original version of "Day of The Jackal," and on British television as the Duke of Windsor in 1978's "Edward and Mrs Simpson."

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