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UK director Richard Attenborough dies at 90

Acclaimed actor and director of films, including Oscar-winning Gandhi and Jurassic Park, dies at nursing home.

Last updated: 25 Aug 2014 05:42
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Attenborough was one of the most familiar faces on the UK arts scene, appearing in a many Hollywood films [EPA]

Acclaimed actor and Oscar-winning director Richard Attenborough, whose film career on both sides of the camera spanned 60 years, has died. He was 90.

The actor's son, Michael Attenborough was cited by the Reuters and AP news agencies as saying that his father died on Sunday.

Attenborough won an Academy Award for best director for his film Gandhi in 1982. But that signature achievement was only one of many highlights of a distinguished career.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement calling Attenborough "one of the greats of cinema".

"His acting in Brighton Rock was brilliant, his directing of Gandhi was stunning," Cameron said.

Ben Kingsley, who shot to stardom for his performance as Mahatma Gandhi, recalled Attenborough's passionate 20-year struggle to bring Gandhi's story to the big screen. The film won eight Oscars, including best picture, best director for Attenborough and best actor for Kingsley.

"He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him," said Kingsley. "I along with millions of others whom he touched through his life and work will miss him dearly."

Attenborough was one of the most familiar faces on the British arts scene, appearing in a many major Hollywood films and also directing a series of movies.

A product of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Attenborough made his screen debut in the patriotic 1942 World War II film "In Which We Serve." He served, too, in the Royal Air Force, and afterward became one of the best-known actors of post-War Britain.

Attenborough was also a constant advocate for the British film industry as well as other humanitarian causes, including his extensive work as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. He was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize in 1983.

He was knighted in 1976, and 17 years later received a life peerage, becoming Baron Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames.

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