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Sir John Gielgud, 90, one of five recipients of the Praemium Imperiale, a $150,000 prize given by the Japan Art Association, is not able to travel to Tokyo for the presentation ceremony next month, so instead it was given to him Tuesday night at the Japanese Embassy in London.

"I'm sorry that I felt the journey to Tokyo would be too arduous to contemplate," Sir John told the 100 guests. The awards were established five years ago to be the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for accomplishment in the arts. The winners also included the sculptor Richard Serra.But his reluctance to take a long trip does not mean Sir John is lolling about.

He is still working in film and in television, mainly in cameo roles, though he does have a starring role in a BBC television production of J.B. Priestley's "Summer Day's Dream." He will also be seen in a television miniseries called "Scarlett," which will be a sequel to "Gone With the Wind."

"I've served my profession constantly for 70 years, in the theater until I was 50," he said as he accepted the award. "I never imagined films and TV would bring me an international reputation in countries other than my own."