It's Dame Gillian! Lynne Receives DBE In New Year's Honours
Gillian Lynne CBE, 87, has had the title of Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) conferred upon her in the 2014 New Year's Honours List for her services to Dance and Musical Theatre.
On her award, Lynne said: "Passion for my art has been the motivating factor throughout my career, but for Her Majesty the Queen and the Cabinet Office to deem what I have done to be worthy of this accolade is an honour. I am deeply humbled to be recognised for my work in an industry I adore."
A seminal influence on British dance and musical theatre, Lynne started her career in 1942 at age 16 before joining the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company where she became a soloist performing at the newly opened Covent Garden Opera House. Following her successful performing career as a star dancer at the London Palladium, on early British TV and as Britain's foremost exponent of Jazz Dance, Lynne went on to be a leading director/choreographer of her generation. Best-known for her ground-breaking work on Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, Lynne has directed over 50 productions on the West End and Broadway, most recently the West End premiere of Jerry Herman's Dear World in 2013, 11 feature films, and over 50 teleVision Productions.
Lynne has received numerous accolades including two Olivier Awards - the first Award for Outstanding Achievement for her Choreography of Cats in 1981 and in 2013 she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Royal Opera House. Other notable awards include Vienna's Silver Order of Merit, Golden Rose of Montreux Award, a BAFTA for A Simple Man, a Moliere Award and The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award. Lynne received a CBE in 1997 and was elected Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2012.
2014 will see Lynne stage a new production of Sir Robert Helpman's ballet Miracle in the Gorbals for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, which will be part of a BBC documentary on dance during the Second World War. Lynne will also have a wellness and fitness regime DVD released entitled Longevity through Exercise, and she will be writing the sequel to her recent memoir A Dancer In Wartime, which is soon to be made into a feature film.
Lord Lloyd-Webber said: "I am thrilled that the grand lady of British musical theatre has got the recognition she deserves. Gillie was already a legend when I was at school! Without Gillie my Cats would never have seen the stage. "
Sir Cameron Mackintosh said: "Gillian Lynne is both a living legend and an inspiration to everyone in the theatre for her passionate commitment to talent and her outstanding work ethic so I know I speak for all her friends and colleagues in both delighting at the news and congratulating her on the Damehood which her extraordinary career and achievements thoroughly deserve."
Arlene Phillips CBE said: "I am thrilled that Gillian has received this honour. She is a creative icon in the dance and musical theatre world and no one deserves it more."
Dame Monica Mason said: "For me, Gillie has always been one of the brightest stars in British Theatre and this honour is hugely deserved."