Richard Attenborough dies aged 90

Friday 29 August 2014 12.11
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Lifelong Chelsea fan Richard Attenborough watching a match at Stamford Bridge in 2009
Lifelong Chelsea fan Richard Attenborough watching a match at Stamford Bridge in 2009
Richard Attenborough and wife  Sheila Sim in 1949
Richard Attenborough and wife Sheila Sim in 1949

Actor and film director Richard Attenborough has died aged 90.

He died at lunchtime on Sunday, his son told the BBC.

Lord Attenborough enjoyed success as one of Britain's leading actors, before becoming a successful director.

His career highlights included directing 1982 film Gandhi and appearing in 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park.

British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Lord Attenborough in a statement which read: "His acting in Brighton Rock was brilliant, his directing of Gandhi was stunning - Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema."

Lord Attenborough clinched eight Oscars for Gandhi, including best film and best director.

Born in Cambridge in 1923, he championed the British film business through its triumphs and trials for more than 60 years as actor, Oscar-winning director and prolific movie-maker.

As an actor he was respected enough for top directors Satyajit Ray and Steven Spielberg to lure him out of self-imposed retirement to appear respectively in The Chess Players and Jurassic Park.

Tragedy struck on Boxing Day 2004 when his elder daughter Jane Holland, and her daughter, Lucy, and her mother-in-law, also named Jane, were killed in the south-Asian tsunami.

He married the actress Sheila Sim when he was 21. His son Michael was born in 1949, followed by two daughters, Jane and Charlotte.

Michael is a theatre director and former artistic director of the Almeida Theatre in Islington, north London, and Charlotte is an actress.

Lord Attenborough struck up a friendship with Diana, Princess of Wales, after the Prince of Wales asked him to help her write speeches.

He was the older brother of TV wildlife presenter Sir David Attenborough.