Richard Attenborough Dies at 90

British movie legend Lord Richard Attenborough has died, aged 90.

The actor/director/producer passed away on Sunday.

While his exact cause of death has yet to be revealed, Attenborough had been living in a nursing home with his wife, Sheila Sim, and was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a serious fall in 2008.

Attenborough began acting at the age of 12, and studied at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

He made his film debut in Noel Coward and David Lean’s 1942 film In Which We Serve, which marked the start of a nearly six decade-long career in movies. His breakthrough role came five years later in 1947’s Brighton Rock, in which he played a psychopathic young gangster.

Attenborough continued working primarily in British films for the next 30 years, starring in hits like Private’s Progress, I’m All Right Jack, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, The Great Escape, Dr. Dolittle, Jurassic Park, Miracle on 34th Street and Guns at Batasi, for which he won a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in 1964.

He made a name for himself as an acclaimed director too, helming films including Oh What a Lovely War, Young Winston, A Bridge Too Far, A Chorus Line, Chaplin, Shadlowlands and Cry Freedom.

In 1982, Attenborough won critical acclaim for his passion project, Gandhi. The film won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Sir Ben Kingsley and Best Director for Attenborough, who also produced the project.

Attenborough was also involved in a number of philanthropic organizations – he served as president of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, president of BAFTA, president of the Gandhi Foundation and president of the British National Film and Television School.

He was appointed a CBE in 1967, knighted in 1976 and was made a life peer in 1993.

British Prime Minister David Cameron took to on Sunday to share his condolences for the loss of one of the nation’s beloved actors, and wrote, “His acting in ‘Brighton Rock’ was brilliant, his directing of ‘Gandhi’ was stunning – Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema.”

His family is expected to make a full statement about his death today.


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