Oscar-Winning Director Richard Attenborough Dies After Suffering from Poor Health

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By Afza Fathima | August 25, 2014 3:17 PM EST

Richard Attenborough, Oscar-winning actor and director, died at the age of 90 on Aug 24 from poor health, his son, Michael Attenborough told BBC.

Reuters
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins as he arrives at Number 10 Downing Street in London April 9, 2014.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema and that his acting in Brighton Rock and direction of Gandhi was stunning. 

In 1982, Attenborough won the Academy Award for best director for the movie Gandhi, apart from the eight Oscars that he grabbed for it, including the prestigious Best Picture award. The movie took about 20 years to plan, and it was a grand success. He was also director of many other movies like Oh What a Lovely War in 1969 and Chaplin and Shadowlands in the 1990s. 

His debut film was In Which We Serve in 1942 at the young age of 19. He played the role of a terrified warship's crewman and the movie even went on to win the Oscar award for Best Picture. His appearance as the failed theme park developer in Jurassic Park would be in the memories of the audience forever. One of his best perfomances was in the movie Brighton Rock as a teenage thug named Pinkie.

He has won several awards for his artistic and humanitarian efforts like the Martin Luther King Jr. Prize in 1983 and receiviving the title of Baron Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames.

He was born on August 29, 1923 in Cambridge and had a passion for art and music as a child. He was brought up in Leicester and was educated at a local grammar school called Wyggeston. 

At 21, he married actress Sheila Sim and had their son, Michael, in 1949, followed by two daughters, Jane and Charlotte.

On Dec 26, 2004, which was also Boxing Day, his life was hit with tragedy after he lost his elder daughter, Jane, and granddaughter, Lucy, in the tsunami. He had said that he was never able to celebrate Christmas after that incident. 

Since 2008, he had been in poor health and in his last few years, spent his life at the nursing home along with his wife.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

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(Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins as he arrives at Number 10 Downing Street in London April 9, 2014.
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