Judi Dench attends unveiling of memorial for John Gielgud

Judi Dench and Ian McKellen paid tribute to veteran actor John Gielgud as a memorial stone was unveiled at Westminster Abbey honouring the star on Tuesday. 

The Oscar-award winning British actor and director, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died aged 96 in May 2000.

A memorial stone honouring his life and work was unveiled by Judi, 87, as she pulled the cover off the incredible tribute.

Incredible: Judi Dench, 87, paid tribute to veteran actor John Gielgud as a memorial stone was unveiled at Westminster Abbey honouring the star on Tuesday

Incredible: Judi Dench, 87, paid tribute to veteran actor John Gielgud as a memorial stone was unveiled at Westminster Abbey honouring the star on Tuesday

Incredible: Judi Dench, 87, paid tribute to veteran actor John Gielgud as a memorial stone was unveiled at Westminster Abbey honouring the star on Tuesday

Judi read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 as a tribute to John at the Abbey’s Poets’ Corner.

The famous actress looked glamorous wearing a black suit and a silk patterned scarf. 

Ian, 82, also paid tribute to to the actor who starred in more than 60 feature films and TV productions. 

In memory: The Oscar-winning British actor and director Sir John Gielgud, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died aged 96 in May 2000 (pictured 1992)

In memory: The Oscar-winning British actor and director Sir John Gielgud, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died aged 96 in May 2000 (pictured 1992)

In memory: The Oscar-winning British actor and director Sir John Gielgud, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died aged 96 in May 2000 (pictured 1992)

Important: Ian McKellen, 82, also paid tribute to to the actor who starred in more than 60 feature films and TV productions

Important: Ian McKellen, 82, also paid tribute to to the actor who starred in more than 60 feature films and TV productions

Important: Ian McKellen, 82, also paid tribute to to the actor who starred in more than 60 feature films and TV productions

The actor looked dapper in a black suit, a bright blue shirt and a patterned tie as he read an extract at the unveiling. 

Before reading an extract, Ian said: ‘All I know of him is a witty tongue and a keen eye, but also a generosity.’

Recalling his first meeting with John, the Lord of the Rings actor added: ‘When I die the only reason I’ll be remembered is because I’m the first queer actor to be knighted.

Smart: The Lord of the Rings actor looked dapper in a black suit, a bright blue shirt and a patterned tie as he read an extract at the unveiling

Smart: The Lord of the Rings actor looked dapper in a black suit, a bright blue shirt and a patterned tie as he read an extract at the unveiling

Smart: The Lord of the Rings actor looked dapper in a black suit, a bright blue shirt and a patterned tie as he read an extract at the unveiling

Unveiling: The Oscar-award winning British actor and director, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died aged 96 in May 2000

Unveiling: The Oscar-award winning British actor and director, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, died aged 96 in May 2000

Unveiling: The Oscar-award winning British actor and director, who was a master of Shakespearean roles, slot online died aged 96 in May 2000

‘Isn’t that sad.

He was a victim of cruel laws.’

English film and theatre director Richard Eyre described John’s acting as ‘casting a spell that’s lasted a lifetime’.

Reflecting on the stars career, which spanned seven decades, Richard, 79, said: ‘It seems odd to say it now, but he convinced West End audiences of the joys of Shakespeare.

The service: Judi read Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 as a tribute to Sir John at the Abbey's Poets' Corner

The service: Judi read Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 as a tribute to Sir John at the Abbey's Poets' Corner

The service: Judi read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 as a tribute to Sir John at the Abbey’s Poets’ Corner 

Unveiling: A memorial stone honouring his life and work was unveiled by Judi who looked  glamorous wearing a black suit and a silk patterned scarf.

Unveiling: A memorial stone honouring his life and work was unveiled by Judi who looked  glamorous wearing a black suit and a silk patterned scarf.

Unveiling: A memorial stone honouring his life and work was unveiled by Judi who looked  glamorous wearing a black suit and a silk patterned scarf.

‘He consistently took risks and accepted challenges.’

English playwright and director David Hare also paid tribute to Sir John, saying: ‘John Gielgud was loved by audiences as much for his character, for who he was, as for his brilliant acting.’

Sir John won the best supporting actor Academy Award in 1982 for playing Dudley Moore’s valet in Arthur.

Sir John was knighted in 1953 and was appointed to the Order of Merit in 1996.

Memories: English film and theatre director Sir Richard Eyre described Sir John's acting as 'casting a spell that's lasted a lifetime'

Memories: English film and theatre director Sir Richard Eyre described Sir John's acting as 'casting a spell that's lasted a lifetime'

Memories: English film and theatre director Sir Richard Eyre described Sir John’s acting as ‘casting a spell that’s lasted a lifetime’

Happy times: English playwright and director David Hare also paid tribute, saying: 'John Gielgud was loved by audiences as much for his character, for who he was, as for his brilliant acting'

Happy times: English playwright and director David Hare also paid tribute, saying: 'John Gielgud was loved by audiences as much for his character, for who he was, as for his brilliant acting'

Happy times: English playwright and director David Hare also paid tribute, saying: ‘John Gielgud was loved by audiences as much for his character, for who he was, as for his brilliant acting’

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