New Year Honours list: Sam Mendes and Olivia Newton-John lead showbiz honours

27 December 2019, 22:30 | Updated: 27 December 2019, 22:31

Sam Mendes (left) and Olivia Newton-John are among those honoured on the list
Sam Mendes (left) and Olivia Newton-John are among those honoured on the list. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Household names from the world of showbiz have been recognised in the New Year Honours list, including film-maker Sam Mendes and Grease star Olivia Newton-John.

Mendes gets a knighthood, while Newton-John has been made a dame for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment.

Sir Elton John also gets an upgrade, being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour.

Billy Ocean becomes an MBE for services to music, while Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody is made an OBE for services to music and charity in Northern Ireland.

Peter Saville, the man behind the Joy Division album cover for Unknown Pleasures, is made a CBE for services to design.

Sir Elton John has been appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour
Sir Elton John has been appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. Picture: PA

Mendes said he was "amazed, delighted and extremely proud" to receive the knighthood for services to drama.

He is best known for his acclaimed directorial debut, American Beauty, as well for his work on the James Bond franchise.

He said in a statement: "I'm amazed, delighted and extremely proud.

"I have stood on the shoulders of so many collaborators and colleagues over the last 30 years - actors, writers, designers, producers, technicians - to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude.

"I would not be receiving this honour without them."

The 54-year-old is one of only a handful of directors to win the Best Director Oscar for their first feature film and won further plaudits for his work on two of Daniel Craig's 007 movies.

His first, Skyfall, became the first Bond film to break the billion-dollar barrier at the box office.

Grease star Newton-John, who moved to Australia with her family as a five-year-old, said: "I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me.

"As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognised in this way by the United Kingdom."

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