Belfast Telegraph

Actor Harewood 'astonished' by MBE

David Harewood admitted to being "astonished" after he was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours.

The 45-year-old Blood Diamond star - whose roles include playing Nelson Mandela opposite Sophie Okonedo in the BBC's TV drama Mrs Mandela - has won plaudits for his roles on the big and small screen, as well as on stage.

He said: "I was astonished. I thought it was a tax bill so I left it sitting there for three days. I was just shocked.

"I had to read it again and you just think it must be for someone else."

David, the son of a long-distance lorry driver, was brought up in a council house in Birmingham, the youngest of four children.

He discovered his vocation when a teacher encouraged him to try acting and he won a place on a course at the National Youth Theatre. David then trained at Rada, and early credits included roles in Minder and Casualty.

He said: "I've been pinching myself every day for the last 30 years. The only reason I became an actor is because a teacher asked me what I was going do to after I left school."

His most famous film role was as the notorious Captain Poison in the 2006 movie Blood Diamond, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

He said: "I got off the phone to my mum and she reminded me that she had always told me I would be judged on my character and ability and I'm so proud that I've proved her right.

"I would like to say that I'm standing on the shoulders of actors that have inspired me like Norman Beaton and other black British actors that just do a great job day in day out."

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