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British Director Antonia Bird Dies at 62

She caused a stir with her debut feature, 1994’s "Priest," and worked often with actor Robert Carlyle.

Antonia Bird, the British director who made the crisis-of-faith film Priest her feature debut in 1994, has died, the U.K. website Eye for Film reported Friday. She was 62.

Bird had anaplastic thyroid cancer and died in her sleep, the BBC said.

She had had an operation to remove a large tumor in April, the statement said. Bird also helmed Mad Love (1995), a romantic drama starring Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell; the crime drama Face (1997) starring Robert Carlyle; and Ravenous (1999), a tale about cannibalism with Carlyle and Guy Pearce.

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With Carlyle, journalist Mark Cousins and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, she set up the production company Four Way Pictures.

“Such a sad day today. RIP Antonia Bird. Farewell my beautiful friend,” Carlyle wrote on Twitter.

Carlyle also appeared in Priest (1994), which played the Toronto International Film Festival, starred Linus Roache and Tom Wilkinson and dealt with issues of celibacy and homosexuality.

A native of London, Bird had been in preproduction on the feature drama Cross My Mind, a film about three lonely people. She recently helmed episodes of the drama The Village for the BBC.

Earlier, Bird directed several episodes of the BBC soap opera EastEnders in 1985-86 as well as the telefilm Cracker (2006), starring Robbie Coltrane.