Actor-director Richard Attenborough dies at 90

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

12 PHOTOS
Richard Attenborough - RIP - through the years
See Gallery
Actor-director Richard Attenborough dies at 90
LONDON - APRIL 09: Lord Richard Attenborough attends the Galaxy British Book Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on April 9, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON - APRIL 09: Lord Richard Attenborough attends the Galaxy British Book Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on April 9, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON - OCTOBER 21: Lord Richard Attenborough attends the 'Closing The Ring' premiere at the Odeon West End as part of the BFI 51st London Film Festival on October 21, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)
LONDON - Richard Attenborough and wife Sheila Sim attend The Great British Movie Event in aid of the National Film and Television School, at the Old Billingsgate on June 17, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - MAY 2007: Tony Blair's resignation after ten years in 10 Downing Street means that Gordon Brown MP is set to become leader of the Labour Party, and British Prime Minister. Shortly after 27th June, 2007, Her Majesty the Queen will invite Brown to Buckingham Palace and ask him to form a new government. Picture shows Gordon Brown receiving a few quiet words of wisdom from film director and producer Lord Richard Attenborough at a private reception in The Hilton Hotel, London. (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Exclusive by Getty Images)
LONDON - APRIL 09: Singer Geri Halliwell and Lord Richard Attenborough during the Galaxy British Book Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on April 9, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Lord Richard Attenborough and Sir David Attenborough pose together outside the 'Richard Attenbororugh' Building at the University of Leicester, before they are awarded the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellowships from the University of Leicester, at De Montfort Hall on July 13, 2006 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Sir David Attenborough and Lord Richard Attenborough pose together before they are awarded the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellowships from the University of Leicester, at De Montfort Hall on July 13, 2006 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
British actor Sir Richard Attenborough (R) arrives with an unidentified woman at Wellington barracks London, for Princess Diana's Memorial service, 31 August 2007. Prince William and Prince Harry organised the Thanksgiving Service to commemorate the life of their mother on the tenth anniversary of her death. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
David Puttnam, Nastassja Kinkski and Richard Attenborough at European Film Awards in Glasgow, Scotland in December 1990. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Sir Richard Attenborough watches the action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on December 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION


LONDON (AP) - Acclaimed actor and Oscar-winning director Richard Attenborough, whose film career on both sides of the camera spanned 60 years, has died. He was 90.

The actor's son, Michael Attenborough told the BBC that his father died Sunday. He had been in poor health for some time.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement calling Attenborough "one of the greats of cinema."

"His acting in 'Brighton Rock' was brilliant, his directing of 'Gandhi' was stunning," Cameron said.

Attenborough won an Academy Award for best director with "Gandhi" in 1982, only one of many highlights of a distinguished career as actor and director.

With his abundant snow-white hair and beard, Attenborough was one of the most familiar faces on the British arts scene - universally known as "Dickie."

He appeared in a many major Hollywood films, directed a series of movies and was known for his extensive work as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and other humanitarian causes.

As a director, Attenborough made several successful movies, from "Oh What a Lovely War" in 1969 to "Chaplin" and "Shadowlands" in the 1990s. But his greatest success was "Gandhi," a film that was 20 years in the planning and won eight Oscars, including best picture.

The generation that was introduced to Attenborough as an avuncular veteran actor in the 1990s - when he played the failed theme park developer in "Jurassic Park" and Kriss Kringle in a remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" - may not have appreciated his dramatic range.

A small, energetic man with a round face that remained boyish even in old age, he was perfectly cast at the start of his career as the young sailor or airman of British movies during and after World War II.

In his 1942 film debut as a terrified warship's crewman in "In Which We Serve," a 19-year-old Attenborough made a small part into one of the most memorable roles in the movie, which won the Best Picture Oscar.

In 1947, Attenborough gave one of the best performances of his career as the menacing teenage thug Pinkie in "Brighton Rock," the film version of Graham Greene's novel.

He is survived by his wife, Sheila Sim, their son and a daughter.


Actor-Director Richard Attenborough Dies At 90

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL and get the top celebrity, movies, music and TV news delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners