Tony Winner Cumming Appointed OBE; Lee Knighted

By Mark Shenton
June 13, 2009

Tony Award winner Alan Cumming, the Scottish-born actor now resident in the U.S., was appointed an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, announced June 13, and veteran actor Christopher Lee received a knighthood, for services to drama and charity.

Cumming's honor was "for services to film, theatre and the arts and to activism for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community." The actor made his Broadway debut as the Emcee in Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's 1998 production of Cabaret, reprising a role he originally played in Mendes' earlier Donmar Warehouse production in London; he won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Cumming has also starred on Broadway in revivals of Noel Coward's Design for Living in 2001 and The Threepenny Opera in 2006. He was last seen on the London stage in a new production of Martin Sherman's Bent in 2006. He is also known for his featured roles in such films as "X2: X-Men United," the "Spy Kids" trilogy, and "The Anniversary Party," which he wrote, directed and starred in.

Lee, who has appeared in more than 250 film and TV productions, became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a host of "Hammer Horror" films. He has also appeared in such films as "The Wicker Man" and "The Man with the Golden Gun" and played Count Dooku in the "Star Wars” series and Suruman in "The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

An OBE is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Other actors favored by the Queen were Tony Award winners Jonathan Pryce (Miss Saigon) and Lindsay Duncan (Private Lives), who were named Commanders of the British Empire (CBE).