Stars honor Sir John Gielgud at the memorial service at Westminster Abbey

Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen have paid tribute to Sir John Gielgud, with Dame Judi calling him a “brilliant actor and a brilliant friend”.

The Oscar-winning British actor and director, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died in May 2000 at the age of 96.

A memorial stone honoring his life and work was unveiled at Westminster Abbey on Monday and a memorial service will be held on Tuesday.

During the service in the Abbey’s Poets’ Corner, Dame Judi, 87, read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 in homage to Sir John.

Sir Ian, 82, also paid tribute to Sir John who has starred in more than 60 feature films and television productions including Julius Caesar with Marlon Brando, Gandhi, Chariots Of Fire and Gulliver’s Travels.

Before reading an extract from Shakespeare’s play Sir Thomas More, Sir Ian said: “All I know of him is a witty tongue and a keen eye, but also a generosity.”

Sir Ian also recalled his first meeting with Sir John, at which the late actor said, “When I die, I will only be remembered for being the first queer actor to be knighted.”

Sir Ian added: “Isn’t that sad. He was a victim of cruel laws.”

English film and theater director Sir Richard Eyre described Sir John’s acting as “a charm that lasts a lifetime”.

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A memorial stone to actor Sir John Gielgud has been installed in the floor of Westminster Abbey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Referring to Sir John’s career, which has spanned seven decades, Sir Richard, 79, added: “It seems strange to say it now, but he has convinced West End audiences of the joys of Shakespeare.”

he added, “He consistently took risks and accepted challenges.”

The English playwright and director David Hare also paid tribute to Sir John with the words: “John Gielgud was loved by the audience as much for his character, for what he was, as for his brilliant acting.”

Sir John won the 1982 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dudley Moore’s valet in Arthur.

Sir John was knighted in 1953 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1996.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/stars-honour-sir-john-gielgud-at-westminster-abbey-memorial-service-41590727.html Stars honor Sir John Gielgud at the memorial service at Westminster Abbey

Fry Electronics Team

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