Entertainment & Arts

South Bank Awards: Eddie Izzard wins outstanding contribution

Eddie Izzard Image copyright AP

Eddie Izzard has been announced as the winner of the outstanding achievement prize at this year's South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

The comedian is the 20th recipient of the accolade, which recognises lifetime contribution to British arts.

Previous winners include JK Rowling, Tracey Emin, Harold Pinter and Julie Walters.

Izzard will receive the trophy at a ceremony in London's Savoy Hotel on Sunday.

Awards host Melvyn Bragg, who himself won in 2010, described the comedian as "a marvel".

"He works across such a wide waterfront with an unmatchable, often uncatchable style and wit," he said.

"We're delighted that he joins the ranks of those who have won this outstanding achievement award."

Image caption Izzard ran 27 marathons for Sport Relief earlier this year

Izzard began his entertainment career in street theatre and comedy clubs.

In 1993, when he was still relatively unknown, he booked a residency at London's Ambassadors Theatre for his first one-man show.

The four-week run was extended twice and eventually earned him an Olivier award nomination and his first of two trophies at the British Comedy Awards.

He has since embarked on nine tours around the world and made regular stage, TV and film appearances.

In 2000, his comedy special Dress to Kill won two Emmy Awards.

Earlier this year, Izzard ran 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa - one for each year Nelson Mandela spent in prison - to raise money for Sport Relief.

The ceremony will be broadcast on Sky Arts on 8 June.

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