British film actor and director Richard Attenborough died at lunchtime on Sunday, just days before his 91st birthday on Aug. 29, The Guardian reported, citing a statement from his son Michael.
After forging a career as an actor in films including Brighton Rock and The Great Escape, he became an acclaimed film director, with Gandhi in 1983 garnering eight Academy awards — a record for a British film — including best director, according to the newspaper.
In 2008 Lord Attenborough suffered a stroke that left him in a coma for several days and confined him to a wheelchair. In 2013 he was moved to a nursing home in west London where he lived with his wife Sheila Sim, 92, whom he married in 1945.
Born in 1923 in Cambridge, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1940, which was the only reason his father –a principal of University College in Leicester — agreed to allow him to attend, The Guardian said.
His best known films as an actor included Brighton Rock, The Great Escape and Jurassic Park, The Independent reported.
As a director, Gandhi could be considered as the critical highlight of his career. But he had other well-received movies, including A Bridge Too Far (1977), A Chorus Line (1985), Cry Freedom (1987), Chaplin (1992) and Shadowlands (1993), which won a Bafta for best British film, The Guardian said.
“Of course I’d rather have nice things written about me, but I’m not a great auteur, I’m not a great director. I’m a good director. I have an ability to make people examine certain circumstances,” the newspaper quoted him as saying in 2003.
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