In Memoriam Richard Attenborough
by Naman Ramachandran
- Veteran British director, producer and actor dies at 90
The world of film is a poorer place with the death of Richard Attenborough, a British national treasure. Lord Attenborough had been in a nursing home with his wife Sheila for several years, and passed away on Sunday. He was 90.
As an actor, Attenborough has a stellar line of credits beginning in 1942 with David Lean and Noel Coward’s In Which We Serve, continuing with John Boulting’s Brighton Rock (1947), Bryan Forbes’ Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) for which he won best actor at San Sebastian. He also shone in Satyajit Ray’s The Chess Players (1977), Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and Les Mayfield’s Miracle on 34th Street (1994).
As a director, Attenborough presided over some of the landmark films of our time including his debut Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Young Winston (1972), A Bridge Too far (1977), Cry Freedom (1987), Chaplin (1992) and Shadowlands (1993).
But Attenborough’s greatest triumph was Gandhi (1982), a passion project that took him 18 years to realise. Attenborough’s moving biopic of the Indian leader won eight Oscars and four BAFTAs, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Spielberg said, “Dickie Attenborough was passionate about everything in his life - family, friends, country and career. 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. He was a dear friend and I am standing in an endless line of those who completely adored him.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “His acting in Brighton Rock was brilliant, his directing of Gandhi was stunning - Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema.”