special honour | 

Kenneth Branagh to receive first Lifetime Achievement award at Richard Harris film festival

Acting legend Harris died 20 years ago on Tuesday in London at the age of 72.

Kenneth Branagh

Eugene MastersonSunday World

Oscar winner Kenneth Branagh has been announced as the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the Richard Harris International Film Festival taking place in his native Limerick this weekend.

Acting legend Harris died 20 years ago on Tuesday in London at the age of 72.

Branagh, who was born in the North before moving to England with his family at a young age and whose early life is told in the recent movie Belfast (for which he was an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) is set to be honoured at the Richard Harris International Film Festival, which runs from today until Sunday.

“The career of Kenneth Branagh absolutely embodies the spirit of the festival”, said festival head Zeb Moore.

“His work on film, TV and theatre is world renowned, covering multiple genres as not only a formidable actor but such a talented writer and director as well. He is greatly admired by those within the artistic community.”

In 2002, Branagh (61) starred as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was the final role for Harris as the beloved character of Albus Dumbledore. The film celebrates its 20th anniversary next month.

This year’s film festival, which celebrates its 10th edition, will screen 12 movie and a large short fiction and documentary programme featuring Harris, and this is the largest edition of the festival so far.

Harris’s most notable roles were as Corrado Zeller in Michelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert, Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and as King Arthur in the 1967 film Camelot, as well as the 1981 revival of the stage musical.

Married twice and the father of three children, there is a statue of Harris in Limerick as King Arthur.

As a youth he was a former rugby player with Garryowen, and in later life he followed Munster.

He spent most of his acting career in England and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in August 2002, reportedly after being hospitalised with pneumonia, quipping that "It was the food!" as he was wheeled out of London’s Savoy Hotel for the last time.

The festival takes place from October 26 to the 30 and for more details on the programme visit www.richardharrisfilmfestival.com.

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