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Baron Richard Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames died on Sunday aged 90

Edward Lloyd


Baron Richard Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames died on Sunday aged 90

The world of Cinema has lost a great character actor and a distinguished director. Born in 1923, Baron Richard Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames died on Sunday aged 90.

It was while studying at RADA, he met his wife the actress Sheila Sim, and wed in 1945. They starred together in 1952 in the first production of The Mousetrap in the West End. They had three children Jane, Michael, and Charlotte. As a gold medal winner at RADA, he went on to save the institution and become President.

He made his acting debut as a frightened Young Stoker in Noel Coward's 1942 first film In Which We Serve.

It was the 1947 film Brighton Rock, which launched the actor in John Boulting's film, playing Pinkie, a psycopathic killer, opposite his loyal girlfriend Rose, played by Carol Marsh.

Among his acting achievements was the 1963 film The Great Escape. He directed the 1972 film Young Winston starring Simon Ward, and the 1982 film Ghandi, which won eight Oscars including Best Director. He used 300,000 extras for the funeral scene, asking them for "a bit more grief Sweethearts". Late in life, he was persuaded by Steven Spielberg to return out of retirement to act in Jurassic Park. During his long association with BAFTA, he won four awards and became President.

His brother, the talented Natural History broadcaster 88 year old Sir David Attenborough, has carved out his own career on BBC Television. In 2004, Lord Attenborough lost his eldest daughter Jane and 14 year old granddaughter Lucy Holland, and his daughter's mother in law in the Thailand tsunami

After suffering a stroke in 2008 resulting in a bad fall, the Rolls Royce enthusiast and great art collector was confined to a wheelchair, and sold Beaver Lodge, his Richmond upon Thames home, to move with his wife into a care home for entertainers, Denville Hall in Northwood Middlesex.

The Chelsea Football Club Life President and self confessed Luvvie, who called everyone Darling, was a committed charity supporter, especially for Muscular Dystrophy, since 1962.

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