James Corden wins Tony for best actor in a play

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Host Neil Patrick Harris performs at the 66th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday June 10, 2012, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes /Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — James Corden, who first made his name on stage in "The History Boys," has won the lead acting Tony Award in a play for his clownish turn in the British import "One Man, Two Guvnors."

The play is a slapstick farce about a simpleminded guy who juggles errands for two underworld bosses in an English seaside town in the 1960s. It had hit runs at the National Theatre and the West End.

The 33-year-old Corden co-wrote the hit comedy series "Gavin & Stacey" for BBC and wrote the memoir "May I Have Your Attention, Please?"

He beat Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Death of a Salesman," James Earl Jones from "Gore Vidal's The Best Man," Frank Langella in "Man and Boy" and John Lithgow from "The Columnist."