British actor and filmmaker Richard Attenborough died over the weekend, leaving behind a legacy of films in which he played memorable roles both in front of the camera and behind it. He had been in poor health for several years after retiring from filmmaking several years ago.
Possibly best known to the younger generation of movie fans for playing idealistic entrepreneur John Hammond in 1993’s Jurassic Park and its sequel, The Lost World, Attenborough has a long list of credits as both an actor and director spanning more than 60 years. The accomplished filmmaker earned two Academy Awards for directing 1982’s Gandhi (starring Ben Kingsley in the title role), which won for “Best Picture” and “Best Director” as well as six other awards that year. He also earned multiple nominations and awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts over the years for his work on both sides of the camera.
“He made a gift to the world with his emotional epic Gandhi and he was the perfect ringmaster to bring the dinosaurs back to life as John Hammond in Jurassic Park,” said Steven Spielberg in a statement following news of Attenborough’s death. “He was a dear friend and I am standing in an endless line of those who completely adored him.”
Along with his role in Jurassic Park, Attenborough was well known for memorable roles in films such as Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Ten Little Indians, and the 1994 remake of The Miracle on 34th Street, in which he played Santa Claus. He also directed A Chorus Line, Chaplin, Shadowlands, and Cry Freedom, among other critically praised features over the years.
In 1976, he was knighted, earning him the title Lord Richard Attenborough.