British film giant Richard Attenborough dies at 90

August 25, 2014 09:38
Richard Attenborough: "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." Photo:

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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