His acting credits range from secret agent Richard Hannay to Jesus Christ.
But yesterday, top actor Robert Powell had another starring role.
Powell, 69, admitted it was a thrill to receive the honour from the School of Music and Humanities. It was presented to him by the University Vice Chancellor, Prof Bob Cryan.
Powell said: “I was delighted to accept and receive the honorary award from the University of Huddersfield.
“The University is an impressive place and it was a lovely ceremony and I received a very warm welcome.
“I’m afraid that as a young man my acting career got in the way of taking up a university place.
“The place at Manchester was held open for a year, but in the meantime I obviously had to eat and serendipitously got a job for six weeks at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, in a production of King Lear.
“They invited me to join the company and, as such, I never took up the place.
“Having never been to university it has infuriated my daughter, who received a 2.1 in Archaeology and Ancient History, because, according to her, I have accumulated three honorary doctorates without doing any work at all.”
Powell, a former Manchester Grammar School student, was introduced at yesterday’s ceremony by lifelong pal and former Manchester pupil, author Alan Garner.
Powell played Jesus Christ in Jesus of Nazareth (1977) following a successful second audition with Franco Zeffirelli.
The two-part television film had an all-star cast, including Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Rod Steiger and Huddersfield star James Mason.
For the role, Powell was nominated for a BAFTA award, and collected the TVTimes Best Actor award for the same performance.
In 1975, Powell married his girlfriend, the Pan’s People dancer Babs Lord, shortly before he was due to start filming for Jesus of Nazareth on location in Morocco. They have a son Barney and a daughter Kate.