RIP Richard Attenborough
James R | On 25, Aug 2014
Lord Richard Attenborough has passed away. The 90-year old filmmaker stunned as violent gangster Pinkie Brown in 1947’s Brighton Rock, but like his ruthless character was only just getting started: he went on to star in The Great Escape, The Flight of the Phoenix and Ten Little Indians, before his iconic turns in the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street and, of course, as scientist John Hammond in Jurassic Park – performances that would endear him to a whole new generation.
While Attenborough continued to act in front of the camera in Elizabeth, he had an equally huge impact behind it: 1969’s Oh! What a Lovely Way marked him out as a director to watch, going on to helm A Bridge Too Far, A Chorus Line, Chaplin and, in 1982 (after many years of production), Gandhi – for which he won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.
Lord Attenborough’s career was as manifold as it was magnificent. If he is best remembered by modern cinema-goers as the elderly gentlemen who brought dinosaurs back into the world, it almost seems appropriate: Lord Attenborough was the kind of man who had that landmark ambition, combined with the talent and twinkly-eyed enthusiasm to realise it. Producing, directing and acting during years when the British film industry was in dire straits, he was just as vital away from it, supporting a wide range of charities and bodies.
Dickie was a driving force of cinema for more than six decades – and that’s only half of it.