"Death Wish" director Michael Winner dies aged 77

Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:55am EST
 

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Flamboyant British film director Michael Winner, best known for the "Death Wish" series of the 1970s and 80s, died at his London home on Monday. He was 77.

In a statement released to the media, his wife Geraldine said: "A light has gone out in my life."

Winner, who reinvented himself in recent years as an outspoken restaurant critic in the Sunday Times, had been ill for some time, and revealed last summer that specialists had given him 18 months to live due to heart and liver problems.

He said in a later interview that he had considered going to the Dignitas assisted-dying clinic in Switzerland.

Winner's movie career spanned some 40 years and more than 30 feature films, including the successful Death Wish series starring Charles Bronson as a vigilante out to avenge family murders.

He worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and Faye Dunaway, but his success was overshadowed by a divisive image in Britain as a pompous bon viveur who did nothing to hide his wealth.

According to Winner's official online biography, actor Michael Caine once said of him: "You are a complete and utter fraud. You come on like a bombastic, ill-tempered monster. It's not the side I see of you. I see a man who has a tremendous artistic eye."

In its obituary, the Daily Telegrah wrote: "Flamboyant, often boorish, he was, in many ways, his own worst enemy."   Continued...