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Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero awarded "twin" honorary Brunel doctorates


Acting legends Vanessa Redgrave and her husband Franco Nero were awarded the honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters by Brunel University in a ceremony at the Italian Cultural Institute, central London, on Friday May 27.

Redgrave is the star of more than 80 films and more than 35 London West End and New York Broadway theatre shows. She is the only British actress to win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Olivier, Cannes, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award, and she received a BAFTA fellowship last year. Receiving her award, Redgrave said: “It’s lovely to be a twin doctor, as it were, with Franco.”

Nero himself has appeared in more than 150 films, and is best known as the lone gunman in the spaghetti western Django (1966). He recalled that, as a child, “being able to study was a daily struggle. So I consider this honorary degree to be like an Oscar award.”

Redgrave and Nero met in 1967 when they played Lancelot and Guinevere in the film musical Camelot. Speaking about their memories with Dr Bill Leahy, Head of the School of Arts, and Film and TV Studies lecturer Dr Xavier Mendik, they revealed that they split up after their son Carlo was born in 1969. They eventually reunited, and married in a private ceremony in 2006. Carlo Nero, a screenwriter and film director, was present at the degree ceremony with his wife and children.

Franco Nero also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cine-Excess V film festival on 30 May at the Odeon Shaftesbury Avenue, central London. Cine-Excess is an annual event sponsored by Brunel which brings together leading international scholars and critics with global cult filmmakers.

Notes to Editors

For information about Cine Excess V, contact Paul Smith.
For information about the honorary degrees contact the Brunel University Press Office. Images can be downloaded from Brunel University's Flickr photostream. For hi-res images contact Neil Graveney or Sally Trussler.