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Top 10 Celebs You Didn't Know Were Knighted

VO: Richard Bush
Written by Sean Harris They should bring back the Round Table, just to sit these guys at it. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities you didn’t know were knighted! For this list, we’ve gathered famous recipients of the knighthood and ranked those which are most surprising, shocking or least well publicised. To qualify for this countdown the celebrity must have been appointed by the monarch or royal family of the UK, into any Order of Knighthood including Knights Bachelor and honorary awards. C, O and MBEs do not feature, while lesser-known celebrity Dames command a separate countdown. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Knighted


They should bring back the Round Table, just to sit these guys at it. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities you didn’t know were knighted!

For this list, we’ve gathered famous recipients of the knighthood and ranked those which are most surprising, shocking or least well publicised. To qualify for this countdown the celebrity must have been appointed by the monarch or royal family of the UK, into any Order of Knighthood including Knights Bachelor and honorary awards. C, O and MBEs do not feature, while lesser-known celebrity Dames command a separate countdown.

#10: Bono

The first of today’s honorary knights, U2 frontman Bono was formally recognised by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for services to the music industry and humanitarian work. As with all honorary recipients, his name isn’t officially styled with Sir at the front of it, no matter how rock star Sir Bono may sound. While the Irishman’s best known for making hit records including “With or Without You”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Beautiful Day”, he’s also a relentless campaigner, fundraiser and political activist, helping fight world hunger, disease and poverty issues.

#9: Bob Hope

Known worldwide as one of America’s greatest ever performers, Bob Hope was a comedian, actor, singer, dancer, writer and athlete. He starred in more than 70 films, regularly presented the Oscars and published 14 books. Hope lived to be 100 years old, but the first four of those were spent in Kent, because the great showman was born in England. Also famous for entertaining the troops during World War II, he got his honorary knighthood in 1998, at the age of 95. Ever the joker, upon receiving the award Hope quipped that he was ‘speechless’ despite years of ad-lib.

#8: Kevin Spacey

Having already bagged an honorary CBE in 2010, Kevin Spacey was upgraded to KBE in 2015, in the Queen’s Birthday honours. The Oscar-winning actor was best known for playing the ruthless Frank Underwood in “House of Cards” at the time, but off-screen he’s a way more respectable man. Knighted for services to culture and British theatre, Spacey was mostly recognised for his ten-year stint as Artistic Director at The Old Vic in London. Speaking about his time in England’s capital, Spacey thanked Britons for their support and said he felt like an ‘adopted son’.

#7: Tom Jones

‘It’s not unusual’ to be surprised by this sir. But, with a career spanning six decades and one of the most distinctive voices in the business, there’s no doubt that Tom Jones deserves high praise. Knighted in 2006 for his services to music, the Welshman boasts 36 top 40 hits in the UK, from “What’s New Pussycat?” in 1965 to “Sex Bomb” in 2000. He broke America too, scoring 19 top 40 records in the US. Now known as a coach on “The Voice”, upon being knighted in 2006 he said it was the best thing he’d ever had.

#6: Ben Kingsley

Having earned an Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy, a Screen Actors Guild Award and two Golden Globes, Ben Kingsley is one of Britain’s most decorated actors. But it’s often forgotten that this thespian is also a knight. Kingsley was appointed Knight Bachelor in 2002, just a couple of years after playing the violent mobster Don Logan in “Sexy Beast”. We’d wager the Queen was more in mind of his 1982 turn as Mahatma Gandhi however, in a biopic which won Kingsley a place within Hollywood’s highest echelons. Here is an actor who clearly has range.

#5: Salman Rushdie

Given that he’s lived much of his life subject to an Iranian fatwa calling for his death, Salman Rushdie’s 2007 knighthood triggered worldwide controversy. An effective death sentence was issued to Rushdie upon publication of his 1988 novel, “The Satanic Verses”, with concerns that it insulted Islam. Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher granted Rushdie round-the-clock police supervision amidst rising tensions, as book burnings were staged in some British towns as well as demonstrations in the Middle East. Organisers stressed that the knighthood was recognition for Rushdie’s full body of work, but criticism came from all corners regardless.

#4: Michael Gambon

Perhaps best known for his role as Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore in six out of the eight Harry Potter films, Michael Gambon was invested Knight Bachelor by Prince Charles in 1998, for services to drama. Honoured before he’d even entered the Potter universe, this man’s back catalogue is bursting with stage and screen credits beginning in the late-‘60s. His theatrical performances range from King Lear to Uncle Vanya, while TV roles include an early-‘90s outing as inspector Maigret and a part as Badger in “The Wind in the Willows”. He’s a man of many talents, even without a wand in his hand.

#3: Alfred Hitchcock

Known almost universally as just ‘Hitchcock’, that the Master of Suspense is also a sir is often forgotten. A legendary British filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock had long been tipped for a knighthood when he was finally shortlisted in 1979. The director was officially honoured just months before he died, aged 80. His journey from a knife in the shower to a sword on the shoulder was a long one, in which he reinvented the thriller genre. From “Psycho” to “Vertigo” and “Rear Window”, so many of Hitchcock’s films are considered some of the greatest ever made.

#2: Mick Jagger

Our runner-up is often described as one of the most influential individuals in rock music history, but his status as a Sir doesn’t sit kindly with everyone. Some Rolling Stones fans and members expressed disappointment when Mick Jagger accepted the honour in 2003, feeling that it contradicted the Stone’s anti-establishment message. It’s also reported that the Queen outright refused to award Jagger in person, given his past views and lyrics. In typical Jagger fashion his critics were mostly ignored, although he doesn’t tend to wear his royal connection as proudly as some others.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

George H. W. Bush

Jony Ive

Patrick Stewart

#1: Steven Spielberg

He’s one of the world’s best known and most-watched movie directors, as well as one of America’s most significant modern cultural figures, and he’s an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Steven Spielberg was recognised by the Queen in 2001 for services to international film, but the honour is often lost in amongst Spielberg’s multitude of other awards. Still, it’s difficult to see how this guy doesn’t deserve it. From “E.T.” to “Indiana Jones”, “Schindler’s List” to “Saving Private Ryan”, he’s a leading influence in modern cinema and a bar-setter for every other director.
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