Bafta fellowship award 'ultimately wise', says Mel Brooks

Veteran Hollywood comedian Mel Brooks has praised Bafta’s “ultimately wise decision” to honour him with a fellowship.

The 90-year-old follows in the footsteps of the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench, as well as Sidney Poitier last year.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of Bafta, will present the award at Sunday’s glittering film ceremony.

Mel Brooks (Chris Young/PA)

Mel – an actor, comedian, film-maker, composer and songwriter – joked: “I am not overwhelmed, but I am definitely whelmed by this singular honour.

“To be included among such iconic talents is absolutely humbling. In choosing me for the 2017 fellowship I think that Bafta has made a strangely surprising yet ultimately wise decision.”

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said: “Mel Brooks is a truly unique and multi-talented film-maker. We are absolutely thrilled to award him the fellowship, the highest honour of the evening, at this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards.”

Sidney Poitier (Ian West/PA)

Sir Sean Connery, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Sir Alan Parker and Mike Leigh have been awarded the fellowship.

Mel, whose directorial debut, The Producers, won him an Oscar for best original screenplay, is one of only 12 people to have scooped an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award and a Tony.

His film credits include Blazing Saddles and Dracula: Dead And Loving It.

The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall, London, hosted by Stephen Fry.

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