TRIBUTES have been paid to the actor and film director Richard Attenborough who has passed away at the age of 90.
Lord Attenborough had established himself as one of the leading actors of his generation before becoming a successful film director and producer.
After studying at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the young actor received his first break from Noel Coward, who cast him in the war film, In Which We Serve (1942).
He quickly established himself as an exciting new talent, giving a notable performance as gangster Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock (1947), see below. He went on to star in some of the best British films of the past 50 years. His credits included The Great Escape (1963), Doctor Dolittle (1967) and 10 Rillington Place (1971), see below. Other films in which he starred included: Jurassic Park (1993), Miracle on 34th Street (1994) and Elizabeth (1998).
Lord Attenborough was equally successful behind the camera. One of his early films was Young Winston (1972), which starred Simon Ward as the young Winston Churchill.
His 1982 epic, Gandhi, swept the boards at the Oscars, winning 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (see below).
Outside of films, Lord Attenborough had also enjoyed success on the stage. He was an original cast member in the long-running production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. His contract had reportedly included a profit-sharing clause which proved to be extremely profitable.
He worked tirelessly for his profession and was instrumental in lobbying for tax incentives to benefit the British film industry.
His entrepreneurial streak extended to projects outside of movies. He was one of the founders of the commercial radio station Capital Radio in London and was a former chairman of Channel 4 television which he encouraged to become involved in film production.
He was Knighted in 1976 and became a Labour Peer in 1993.
Tributes were paid to him from around the world. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “His acting in Brighton Rock was brilliant, his directing in Gandhi was stunning — Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema.”
Stephen Spielberg, who directed him in Jurassic Park, said: “He made a gift to the world with his emotional epic Gandhi and he was the perfect ringmaster to bring the dinosaurs back to life as John Hammond in Jurassic Park.”
Lord Attenborough, who was the older brother of the broadcaster David (Lord) Attenborough, is survived by his wife Sheila Sim, son Michael and daughter Charlotte. His other daughter, Jane, died along with her daughter Lucy in the Asian Tsunami in 2004.
To view a clip from the movie, Brighton Rock, click here.
To see an interview in which Lord Attenborough talked about the film, 10 Rillington Place, click here.
To see footage of Lord Attenborough receiving the Best Director Oscar for, Gandhi, click here.
To view footage of Lord Attenborough taking part in a Q&A session at the Glasgow Film Theatre in 2008, click here.
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