“Richard Attenborough, 90, who was honored for his helming and production of the 1982 Oscar best picture ‘Gandhi’ but was best known to American audiences for his role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ and its first sequel as park creator John Hammond, died on Sunday [Aug. 24, 2014], his son tells BBC News,’ Variety reports.
Writes The New York Times in its obituary, “Until the early 1960s, Mr. Attenborough was a familiar actor in Britain but little known in the United States. In London he was the original detective in Agatha Christie’s play ‘The Mousetrap.’ On the British screen, he made an early mark as the sociopath Pinkie Brown in an adaptation of Graham Greene’s ‘Brighton Rock’ (1947).
“But it was not until he appeared with his friend Steve McQueen and a sterling ensemble cast in the 1963 war film ‘The Great Escape,’ his first Hollywood feature, that he found a trans-Atlantic audience. His role, as a British officer masterminding an escape plan from a German prisoner-of-war camp, was integral to one of the most revered and enjoyable of all World War II films. That performance established him in Hollywood and paved the way for a series of highly visible roles.”
The Times also notes that the biopic “ ‘Gandhi’ (1982), an epic but intimate biographical film, was [Attenborough’s] greatest triumph.” The movie starred Ben Kingsley, who was not well-known at the time. Nominated for 11 Oscars, it won eight, including Best Picture and Best Director for Attenborough.
To read more about Attenborough, please click on the links above to the full stories in Variety and in The New York Times.