/Vale – Richard Attenborough

Vale – Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough - 1923-2014
Richard Attenborough – 1923-2014

The man who bade us welcome to Jurassic Park in 1993, Lord Richard Attenborough, has passed away.

Lord Attenborough, the brother of famed BBC naturalist David Attenborough, was an actor, producer and director, starring in front of the camera in films such as Brighton Rock (1947), Private’s Progress (1956), and perhaps most famously, The Great Escape, in 1963, alongside fellow screen lumnaries such as Donald Pleasance, James Garner and Steve McQueen. Modern audiences will undoubtedly remember his role in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, as eccentric billionaire John Hammond, who dreamed of giving dinsoaurs back to a paying public. He appeared in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, in 1994, and had a small role in the Cate Blanchett biopic Elizabeth. Among his screen awards were two Golden Globe wins for Best Supporting Actor, for The Sand Pebbles and, a year later, for Doctor Doolittle.

Lord Attenborough was also well respected behind the camera, as a director and producer, with his most successful foray into film-making being the monumental Gandhi, for which he won two Oscars in the directing and producing categories. His first directorial stint was for 1969’s Oh What A Lovely War, followed by Young Winston, and A Bridge Too Far, while two films in the 1980’s, A Chorus Line and Cry Freedom, as well as two more bio-pics in the ’90’s, Chaplin and Shadowlands, on CS Lewis, kept him busy.

Lord Attenborough suffered a stroke, in 2008, and was confined to a wheelchair from that time on.

At the time of his death, aged 90, on August 24th, Lord Attenborough leaves a wife and three children.

Lord Attenborough in 2007.
Lord Attenborough in 2007.

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Normally detesting these kinds of bios, Rodney's keen love of film more often outclasses his ability to write convincingly about them. Never blessed with a body worthy of a porn star, nor being the heir to a wealthy industrialists fortune, nor suffering the tragedy of having his parents murdered outside a Gotham theater, Rodney is, contrary to popular opinion, neither Ron Jeremy, JD Rockefeller, or Batman. As a serious appreciator of film since 1996, Rodney's love affair with the medium has continued with his online blog, Fernby Films, a facility allowing him to communicate with fellow cineasts in their mutual love of all things movie.