RIP Richard Attenborough

English actor, film director, producer and entrepreneur Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90. Attenborough was one of England’s leading actors and was also a director and producer. He’s probably best known for bringing Jurassic Park to life. He also starred as Santa Claus in the remake of Miracle On 34th Street. His 70-year career also included The Great Escape with Steve McQueen as well as directing the film Gandhi which won 8 Oscars. Attenborough’s son told the BBC his father died Sunday at lunchtime — he’d been living in a nursing home with his wife for the past few years.

He was the older brother of Sir David Attenborough, a naturalist and broadcaster, and John Attenborough, who was an executive at Alfa Romeo. During the Second World War, Attenborough served in the Royal Air Force. After initial pilot training he was seconded to the newly formed RAF Film Unit at Pinewood Studios, under the command of Flight Lieutenant John Boulting. Attenborough worked prolifically in British films such as Private’s Progress (1956) and I’m All Right Jack (1959). In 1963, he appeared in the ensemble cast of The Great Escape as RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett. During the 1960s, he played character roles in films such as Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Guns at Batasi (1964), for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. In 1965 he played Lew Moran opposite James Stewart in The Flight of the Phoenix and in 1967 and 1968, he won back-to-back Golden Globe Awards in the category of Best Supporting Actor, the first time for The Sand Pebbles, again co-starring Steve McQueen, and the second time for Doctor Dolittle starring Rex Harrison.

He took no acting roles following his appearance in Otto Preminger’s version of The Human Factor (1979) until his appearance as the eccentric developer John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and the film’s sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). He starred in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street (1994) as Kris Kringle. In the late 1950s, Attenborough formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes and began to build a profile as a producer on projects including The League of Gentlemen (1959), The Angry Silence (1960) and Whistle Down the Wind (1961), appearing in the cast of the first two films. He also directed Cry Freedom (1987) & Chaplin (1992) among others. Attenborough had been married to the English actress Sheila Sim since 1945.

Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough, CBE ( 29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014)

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