Published On: Wed, Feb 8th, 2017

Mel Brooks to Be Honoured With BAFTA Fellowship

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Mel Brooks gets BAFTA Fellowship

Comedy and film legend Mel Brooks is to be awarded a BAFTA Fellowship. This is the highest honor bestowed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

The honor will be bestowed on Mel Brooks at the EE British Academy Film Awards on which will be held on Sunday February 12. HRH The Duke of Cambridge, as President of BAFTA, will present the award.

With the honor, Mel Brooks will join the ranks of Hollywood royalty like Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Mike Leigh and Sidney Poitier. Not bad for a nebichy Jewish kid from New York. Good thing he made it to 90.

Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games.

Mel Brooks was his usual witty self when he commented on the honor saying, “I am not overwhelmed, but I am definitely whelmed by this singular honor. To be included among such iconic talents is absolutely humbling.”

With a combination of self-denigration and self-flattery Mel Brooks added, “In choosing me for the 2017 Fellowship I think that BAFTA has made a strangely surprising yet ultimately wise decision.”

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “Mel Brooks is a truly unique and multi-talented filmmaker. We are absolutely thrilled to award him the Fellowship, the highest honour of the evening, at this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards.”

Mel Brooks’ legendary career as an actor, comedian, filmmaker, composer and songwriter is illustrated through his multiple awards, spanning many decades, making him only one of 12 individuals to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.

Brooks’ feature film directorial debut, The Producers (1968), won him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and was later adapted for Broadway, winning a record 12 Tony Awards in 2001. Brooks later adapted the stage musical into a feature film, which was released in 2005 and starred Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Uma Thurman.

Brooks’ ground-breaking third feature film, Blazing Saddles (1974), starring Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little and Madeline Kahn, received two BAFTA nominations for Screenplay and Most Promising Newcomer (Cleavon Little) and three Oscar nominations. This was the movie which solidified Mel Brooks as one of Hollywood’s most brilliant comic geniuses.

Young Frankenstein, his next box office hit, continued his working relationship with Wilder, who co-wrote and starred in the 1974 release.

And the rest as they say was history for Mel Brooks.

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