LOS ANGELES, Dec. 31 (JTA) — Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been named a Knight Commander of the British Empire in Queen Elizabeth’s annual New Year’s Honors List, for his “extraordinary contribution to the entertainment industry and the British film industry over the last 25 years.”
The 53-year old director of “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “E.T.” will accept the Honorary Insignia of a Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire during a Jan. 29 ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Spielberg was out of the country, but his publicist, Marvin Levy, said the director was aware of the award and felt “honored and humbled. He has the highest admiration for the British people and the British film industry.”
As an American admitted to a British Order of Chivalry, Spielberg is not entitled to the appellation “Sir,” but he can place the initials KBE — Knight of the British Empire — after his name.
Asked whether Spielberg would now add KBE to his screen credits, Levy joked that the three letters, on top of the initials in Spielberg’s studio DreamWorks SKG — for Spielberg and his partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen — might confuse the situation.
Previous American recipients of the honor include former Presidents Bush and Reagan, comedian Bob Hope, General Colin Powell, General Norman Schwarzkopf and conductor Andre Previn.
Spielberg also received Germany’s highest civilian award in 1998 for his depiction of the Holocaust in “Schindler’s List.”