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Also Known As: Lord Richard Attenborough, Richard Samuel Attenborough Died: August 24, 2014
Born: August 29, 1923 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Cambridge, England, GB Profession: director, actor, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Prior to becoming the acclaimed director of epic features, Lord Richard Attenborough was noted for being a diversified actor whose roles ranged from unrepentant misfits to respected military men in both comedies and dramas. After making his mark as the sociopathic Pinky Brown in "Brighton Rock" (1943), Attenborough settled into a long onscreen career that spanned several decades and earned him numerous awards. Up until the early 1960s, he was famous in his native England, while remaining largely unknown across the Atlantic. But that all changed with a standout performance in the ensemble epic, "The Great Escape" (1963), a large scale Hollywood blockbuster that introduced Attenborough to a wider audience. From there, he branched out into directing, helming the antiwar musical, "Oh! What A Lovely War" (1969). Socially conscious, Attenborough began focusing his creative energies on subjects about larger-than-life figures who changed the world, which culminated in directing one of the last true epics, "Gandhi" (1982). A stunning achievement in both scale and intimacy, "Gandhi" was a high watermark in Attenborough's career. Though later efforts like "Chaplin" (1992) and "Shadowlands" (1993) failed to live...

Prior to becoming the acclaimed director of epic features, Lord Richard Attenborough was noted for being a diversified actor whose roles ranged from unrepentant misfits to respected military men in both comedies and dramas. After making his mark as the sociopathic Pinky Brown in "Brighton Rock" (1943), Attenborough settled into a long onscreen career that spanned several decades and earned him numerous awards. Up until the early 1960s, he was famous in his native England, while remaining largely unknown across the Atlantic. But that all changed with a standout performance in the ensemble epic, "The Great Escape" (1963), a large scale Hollywood blockbuster that introduced Attenborough to a wider audience. From there, he branched out into directing, helming the antiwar musical, "Oh! What A Lovely War" (1969). Socially conscious, Attenborough began focusing his creative energies on subjects about larger-than-life figures who changed the world, which culminated in directing one of the last true epics, "Gandhi" (1982). A stunning achievement in both scale and intimacy, "Gandhi" was a high watermark in Attenborough's career. Though later efforts like "Chaplin" (1992) and "Shadowlands" (1993) failed to live up to the measure of "Gandhi," Attenborough nonetheless remained a cinematic legend well into the new millennium. His death, following a lengthy illness, on August 24, 2014, brought international mourning for a major figure in British cinema

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Grey Owl (1999) Director
3.
  In Love and War (1996) Director
4.
  Shadowlands (1993) Director
5.
  Chaplin (1992) Director
6.
  Cry Freedom (1987) Director
7.
  Chorus Line, A (1985) Director
8.
  Gandhi (1982) Director
9.
  Magic (1978) Director
10.
  A Bridge Too Far (1977) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Snow Prince, The (2007)
3.
 Elizabeth (1998) Sir William Cecil
4.
 Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) John Hammond
5.
 Wavelength (1996) The Visitor
6.
 Hamlet (1996) English Ambassador
7.
 Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Kriss Kringle
8.
 Jurassic Park (1993) Dr John Hammond
9.
 Mother Teresa (1986) Narration
10.
 The Human Factor (1980) Colonel John Daintry
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
At age 12, hired public hall in Leicester and mounted an evening of harmonica solos, comic songs, and sketches
:
Made theater debut in a small role with Leicester's Little Theater (his mother was President)
1941:
Professional stage debut in "Ah, Wilderness!" at Palmers Green
1942:
West End debut, "Awake and Sing"
1942:
Played a deserting sailor in film debut "In Which We Serve"
1943:
Had first major stage success as Pinkie in "Brighton Rock"
1943:
Joined the Royal Air Force during World War II
1944:
Cast opposite Edward G. Robinson in John Boulting's propaganda drama "Journey Together"
1947:
Achieved star status when he reprised his role as Pinkie in the film version of "Brighton Rock"
1956:
Acted with Bryan Forbes in "The Baby and the Battleship"
1959:
Formed the production company Beaver Films with Bryan Forbes
1959:
Co-produced (with Forbes) first film "The Angry Silence"
1963:
Made first Hollywood film "The Great Escape"
1964:
Beaver Films dissolved after the making of "Seance on a Wet Afternoon"
1969:
Made film directing debut with "Oh! What a Lovely War"
1971:
Portrayed serial killer John Christie in "10 Rillington Place"
1977:
Directed the epic war film "A Bridge Too Far"
1979:
Last screen appearance for 14 years, Otto Preminger's "The Human Factor"
1982:
Won two Academy Awards for directing and producing the historical epic "Gandhi"
1985:
Served as a consultant for and provided the narration to the feature-length documentary "Mother Teresa"
1985:
Directed the screen version of the musical "A Chorus Line"; earned a Best Director Golden Globe nomination
1987:
Directed the Apartheid drama "Cry Freedom," based on the life and tragic death in police custody of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko; earned a Best Director Golden Globe nomination
1992:
Produced and directed "Chaplin," starring Robert Downey Jr. in title role
1993:
Directed the biographical drama "Shadowlands," about the relationship between C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham
1993:
Returned to acting in features for Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park"
1994:
Played Kris Kringle in the remake of "Miracle on 34th Street"
1997:
Reprised role for Spielberg's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park"
1998:
Portrayed Sir William Cecil, an advisor to the monarch in "Elizabeth"
1999:
Directed Pierce Brosnan as conservationist "Grey Owl"
2001:
Lent his voice to the CBS miniseries "Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story"
2003:
Named President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)
2007:
Helmed romantic drama "Closing the Ring," Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer; also produced
2008:
Published in association with long-standing associate Diana Hawkins, his autobiography <i>Entirely Up to You, Darling</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England - 1941

Notes

He was named Commander of the British Empire in 1967.

Awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize (1983)

Received India's Padma Bhusan (1983)

Worked as pro-chancelllor of Sussex University.

He was honored with a BBC/BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Tribute on December 19, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Sheila Sim. Magistrate, former actor. Married in January 1945; born on June 5, 1922; met at RADA; best remembered as the Women's Land Army recruit in the Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger film, "A Canterbury Tale" (1944); appeared in such films with husband as "The Guinea Pig" (1948); co-starred together in original West End production of the "Mousetrap" (1952); mother of their son and two daughters.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Frederick Levi Attenborough. Teacher. Don at Emmanuel College; author of a standard text on Anglo-Saxon law.
mother:
Mary Attenborough. Writer. Founding member of Marriage Guidance Council.
brother:
David Attenborough. Writer, executive. Known for books and TV documentaries on wildlife, evolution and travel; head of BBC Television's Channel Two; born on May 7, 1927.
son:
Michael Attenborough. Theater executive. Born on February 13, 1950; associate director, Royal Shakespeare Company; mother, Sheila Sim.
daughter:
Jane Attenborough. Mother, Sheila Sim.
daughter:
Charlotte Attenborough. Mother, Sheila Sim.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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