Thursday, February 26, 2009

Terry Gilliam '62 Honored by British Film Academy

Veteran director Terry Gilliam ’62 received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in recognition of his contribution to film at the British Academy Film Awards, presented Feb. 8 at London’s Royal Opera House.

Gilliam—the only American member of the legendary comedy troupe Monty Python—was met with a standing ovation. “Standing up is just not fair,” he told the crowd. “I'm amazed to be humbled by a piece of metal. I'm worried that BAFTA will take it away when they realize I’m not who they think I am.”

As an undergraduate at Occidental, Gilliam is best remembered for his contributions to Fang, taking the editor’s reins as a junior and turning the campus humor magazine into the Oxy equivalent of Mad. He graduated with a degree in political science.

As a director, he has completed 12 features, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), The Fisher King (1991), Twelve Monkeys (1995), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). Gilliam’s next project, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, features a lead performance by the late Heath Ledger (his last screen work) and is scheduled for release later this year.

Created in 1971, the Academy Fellowship is regarded as the most prestigious individual honor awarded by BAFTA. Past recipients have included directors Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Ingmar Bergman, and Federico Fellini, as well as actors Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Sean Connery, and Judi Dench.

Gilliam has lived in England since 1968.

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