Theroux has achieved cult-hero status in the UK, with programmes covering topics as diverse as drug addiction, wrestling, racism and Scientology.
His documentaries follow his attempts to get to know the people at the heart of some of the world’s - and especially America’s - most controversial and fascinating lifestyles.
In a career spanning nearly two decades he has interrogated the engrained criminals at San Quentin prison; lived with the extreme believers of the Westboro Baptist Church; gambled with the high-rollers at a Las Vegas mega-casino, and stalked game with trophy hunters on South Africa’s wild animal farms.
Theroux rose to prominence during his BBC series Weird Weekends, where he followed marginal, mostly American, subcultures such as survivalists, black nationalists, white supremacists and porn stars, often by living among or close to the people involved.
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Since then, Theroux has made further compelling documentaries including When Louis Met.., a series of BBC Two specials, Drinking to Oblivion, Dark States and My Scientology Movie.
Theroux has won numerous awards including two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Award for his shows.
Upon accepting the honorary doctorate, Theroux said: “I am thrilled to be offered an honorary degree from Sheffield Hallam University, especially given its historic connection with the world of documentaries and media.
“I hope it will be chance to share ideas with members of the faculty and the student body – to answer questions they may have and also to hear from them about their dreams and ideas. I look forward to being part of the Sheffield Hallam family.”
Theroux will receive his honorary doctorate in November alongside students graduating from the University’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts.