Loading articles...

British actor, director Richard Attenborough dies

British actor and director Richard Attenborough arrives at the Galaxy British Book Awards in London, April 9, 2008. THE ASSOCIATED PRESSLefteris Pitarakis

British actor and film director Richard Attenborough died on Sunday at the age of 90, the BBC reported, citing his son.

Among his most famous works were the 1982 Indian epic “Gandhi,” which went on to win eight Oscars including best director and best film, and science fiction adventure “Jurassic Park.”

Attenborough fought passionately to turn the British film industry into the Hollywood of Europe.

He was knighted in 1976 and was made a baron in June 1993.

In 1942, he appeared in an uncredited role in Noel Coward’s “In Which We Serve.” He co-starred in 1963’s “The Great Escape” and 1966’s “The Sand Pebbles,” both with Steve McQueen.

One of Lord Attenborough’s greatest achievements was making the cinematic tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most successful films of all time, but he also won worldwide acting fame for his role as a theme park owner in “Jurassic Park.” For its 20th anniversary, “Jurassic Park” was remastered for Blu-ray and 3D theatrical release in 2013.

“Gandhi,” a $22 million epic, came out in 1982 and scooped eight Hollywood Oscars, a record for a British film and only three less than the all-time record by “Ben Hur” in 1959. Hollywood tycoons initially argued that the life story of an Indian mystic was not the stuff of box-office hits and wanted a top American box-office name to star in “Gandhi,” but Attenborough refused this, casting a comparative unknown in Sir Ben Kingsley.

“Gandhi,” the story of the father of Indian independence, eclipsed Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction smash “E.T.,” the most profitable movie in box-office history, and took the awards for best film, best director and best actor.

He made a movie version of the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line” and in 1987 produced and directed “Cry Freedom,” a film about Steve Biko, the South African black civil rights activist who died in police custody.