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Eddie Izzard wins Outstanding Achievement award at South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Eddie Izzard has been announced as the winner of the Outstanding Achievement award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Previous winners of the trophy that recognises lifetime contributions to arts in Britain include JK Rowling, Tracey Emin, Harold Pinter and Julie Walters.

Award host Melvyn Bragg, who himself won in 2010, said: "Eddie Izzard is a marvel. He works across such a wide waterfront with an unmatchable, often uncatchable style and wit.

"We're delighted that he joins the ranks of those who have won this outstanding achievement award."

He will receive the award at a star-studded ceremony at London's Savoy Hotel on June 5. Other guests in attendance include Martin Freeman, Suranne Jones, Sir Lenny Henry and Charlotte Rampling.

Izzard began in street theatre and comedy clubs, before taking a risk by booking London's Ambassadors Theatre in 1993 for his first one-man show.

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The four-week run was extended twice and eventually earned him an Olivier award nomination and his first of two top stand-up trophies at the British Comedy Awards.

Its success kicked off a career that has included nine tours around the world, plus stage, TV and film appearances. His credits includes The Cat's Meow, Valkyrie, and Ocean's Twelve and Thirteen.

Best known for his cross-dressing act, Izzard's 2000 comedy special Dress to Kill won two Emmy awards.

Izzard has also taken on the extreme feats of running 43 marathons in 51 days around Britain for Sport Relief in 2009 and completing 27 marathons in 27 days celebrating Nelson Mandela's life that raised more than £1.35m for the charity earlier this year - both of which were accompanied by TV documentaries.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards will be broadcast on Sky Arts on June 8 at 8pm.

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