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CBE for actor Chiwetel Ejiofor


Chiwetel Ejiofor won a Bafta in 2013 for 12 Years A Slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor won a Bafta in 2013 for 12 Years A Slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor won a Bafta in 2013 for 12 Years A Slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor can add another accolade to his list after being awarded a CBE for services to drama.

The 37-year-old is already the holder of an OBE, which he was awarded in 2008.

This latest honour caps a remarkable rise that began with a London schoolboy reciting Shakespeare to himself in his bedroom.

His star has continued to shine brightly, with him receiving an Oscar nomination and winning a Bafta in 2013 for 12 Years A Slave.

Ejiofor grew up in north London with Nigerian parents, started acting at school before joining the National Youth Theatre and training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

He got his big break when he was still a teenage student and was offered a role in another slavery drama - Steven Spielberg's epic Amistad about a mutiny aboard a slave ship.

Steady work on stage and screen followed before he landed a major role in British film Dirty Pretty Things - a gritty tale of immigrant London - and a succession of increasingly high-profile parts including Othello at the Donmar Warehouse and in BBC drama The Shadow Line.

His laid-back demeanour - when he is not working he can be found sailing down the Thames in his boat called Bone Idle - hides a hard worker who travelled to Africa to research his role in 12 Years A Slave and learned to play the violin for the part.

His sister, CNN journalist Zain Asher, recalled his youthful enthusiasm in an interview with her own channel.

She said: "He's been acting since he was 13 years old and he's worked so hard for this and growing up with him he was always in his bedroom practising Shakespeare lines, writing Shakespeare on the wall.

"I would go out with my friends and I would come home and in the morning he would be reciting Measure for Measure and in the evening it would be Othello and [he is] just somebody who is really dedicated and an actor's actor."

Ejiofor's recent projects include a movie starring alongside Nicole Kidman titled The Secret in Their Eyes. He has also been treading the boards in London, starring in the theatre production Everyman at the National.

PA Media