On Sunday February 19th, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts presented David Puttnam with this year's Academy Fellowship at its Orange British Film Awards ceremony on February 19, 2006. Awarded annually by the BAFTA Council in recognition of outstanding contribution to world cinema, the fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by the academy. The award was presented by British Academy president Richard Attenborough. Previous fellowships have been awarded to Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor and Stanley Kubrick. After starting his career in the advertising industry, David Puttnam spent 30 years as an independent film producer. His credits include The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Bugsy Malone, Memphis Belle and Midnight Express. He was chairman and CEO of Columbia Pictures from 1986 to 1988 - the only non-American ever to run a Hollywood studio. He retired from film production in 1998 and, while still involved in the industry, his focus is now primarily on education. Puttnam was awarded a CBE in 1982, received a Knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. A patron of Action for M.E., he has recently spoken out about living with M.E. - see below from previous news stories in 2004: OSCAR-winning British film-maker, David Puttnam, has revealed he is suffering from ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome. The respected producer told the Guardian newspaper that he had been living with the condition for 16 years, after he was first affected by a bout in 1988. Lord Puttnam believes the condition was triggered by a virus, coupled with the strain he had been under during the previous ten years spent making films, including Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and Bugsy Malone. The 63-year-old made the shock revelation after being asked to speak about the disease by the charity, Action for ME, which is bidding to raise public awareness of the little-known condition. ME traditionally causes extreme fatigue, muscle pains and headaches, and was originally labelled ‘yuppie flu’, when it first emerged in the 80s. The exact cause remains unknown. However, it can have devastating effects on careers and was partly responsible for Lord Puttnam’s departure from Columbia Pictures, in Hollywood. "It occurred at exactly the time that things were coming to a head at Columbia Pictures, which was another reason why it was very easy for me to say ‘look - thanks but no thanks’," he told the national newspaper. Congratulating the film-maker for his decision to speak out on their behalf, Chris Clark, chief executive of Action for ME, said: "We are delighted that Lord Puttnam has come forward to speak of his life, both before and with ME. "We hope that his story will reach as many people as possible, helping to create a more understanding world for the thousands that must live with ME every day."