Film director Anthony Minghella dies

Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:18pm EDT
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By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - British filmmaker Anthony Minghella, who won the Oscar as best director for his work on "The English Patient," died in a London hospital on Tuesday after a short illness, his agent said. He was 54.

Minghella died from complications following surgery last week for cancer of the tonsils and neck, agent Leslee Dart said.

"The surgery had gone well and they were very optimistic," she said. "But he developed a hemorrhage last night and they were not able to stop it."

The son of an ice-cream maker, Minghella was married to Carolyn Choa and had two grown-up children, Max and Hannah.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was a close friend of the director, said he was "deeply saddened."

"He was one of Britain's greatest creative talents, one of our finest screenwriters and directors, a great champion of the British film industry and an expert on literature and opera," Brown said. "He will be deeply missed."

Hailed as a master filmmaker and admired by actors as well as fellow directors, Minghella began his cinematographic career as a television soap opera script editor in the 1980s.

Gradually working his way up the television hierarchy, Minghella turned his hand to writing, winning in 1984 the London Theater Critics award as most promising playwright for "A Little Like Drowning."   Continued...

<p>Oscar-winning British film director Anthony Minghella, recipient of the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing, attends the 2006 BAFTA/LA Cunard Britannia Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles in this November 2, 2006 file photo.REUTERS/Phil McCarten/Files</p>