An English actor who came to prominence in the early 1960s with a succession of films including The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Billy Liar (1963), and Dr. Zhivago (1965). Since the mid-1960s he has been known primarily for his work in the theatre. Courtenay received a knighthood in February 2001 for forty years' service to cinema and theatre. Courtenay is the President of Hull City A.F.C.'s Official Supporters Club. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Hull University.
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