Oscar-winning British film director Richard Attenborough dies: BBC

Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:01pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - British actor and film director Richard Attenborough died on Sunday at the age of 90, the BBC reported, citing his son.

One of Attenborough's greatest achievements was making the cinematic tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, for which he won an Oscar for best director. But he also won worldwide acting fame for roles such as a theme park owner in "Jurassic Park".

Richard Samuel Attenborough was born on August 29, 1923 in Cambridge, England. Knighted in 1976 and made a baron in June 1993, he was the elder brother of naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough.

His father Frederick was a university professor, and his mother marched behind a banner denouncing Spanish dictator General Franco and helped care for Spanish Civil War refugees.

Attenborough, who longed to act from the age of four, won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1941. That year he made his stage debut in London's West End and in 1942 played his first film part in Noel Coward's “"In Which We Serve."

He later joined the Royal Air Force, qualifying as a pilot, and in 1944 volunteered for a unit filming over Germany.

Attenborough played underdogs and misfits in a string of character roles after World War Two, notably "Brighton Rock", "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" and "10 Rillington Place".

A short, round-faced man, he went on to have a long track record in the British theater and film industry.

His fifth film as a director, “"Gandhi" established him as one of Britain's best-known cinema personalities and won him a string of international awards. The $22-million epic came out in 1982 and scooped eight Hollywood Oscars, including best director - a record for a British film.   Continued...

Sir Richard Attenborough attends [British television actor John Thaw's} memorial service at St Martin in the Fields church, London, September 4, 2002. Reuters