Michael Gambon, who made his highly acclaimed Broadway debut in 1996 in David Hare's Skylight, and Elton John, pop songwriter extraordinaire and composer of Broadway's The Lion King and the upcoming Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, are now "Sir Michael" and "Sir Elton," following an investiture ceremony Feb. 24 at 11 AM at Buckingham Palace.
After being dubbed on each shoulder with the investiture sword by Queen Elizabeth II, John -- who was uncharacteristically dressed in a sober formal suit -- declared, "They don't come much bigger than this!" according to an Associated Press report.
Among the other new knights are the composer Richard Rodney Bennett -- who moves freely between the classical and more mainstream musical worlds -- the sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clark, the painter Terry Frost and the architect Sandy Wilson.
In addition, the following were named Commanders of the Order of the British Empire: the much loved stage and screen actress Deborah Kerr (who made her Broadway debut in Tea and Sympathy in 1953 and returned to New York in Edward Albee's Seascape in 1975), the actor Alan Howard (seen in 1997 as King Lear and in Waiting for Godot at the Old Vic and currently in Flight at the Royal National Theatre) the novelist and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the singer Petula Clark (who appeared recently on Broadway in Blood Brothers and on the West End in Sunset Blvd.) and the novelist David Lodge. The actress Annette Crosbie, currently appearing in the West End production of A Delicate Balance, is also receiving Order of the British Empire honors.
The honorees received their insignias from Queen Elizabeth -- although 76-year-old Deborah Kerr, who lives in Switzerland and is in ailing health, did not make the trip to England.