Colin Welland, Oscar-Winning Writer of 'Chariots of Fire,' Dies at 81

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"Chariots of Fire"

He also won a BAFTA honor for acting in Ken Loach's 'Kes' and suffered from Alzheimer's disease in recent years.

Oscar-winning British writer and actor Colin Welland has died after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years, his agency in London said Tuesday, citing his family.

He was 81 and died Monday night. He won a best original screenplay Oscar for Chariots of Fire, about athletes competing at the 1924 Olympics, in 1982.

During his acceptance speech, Welland famously told Hollywood, "The British are coming."

His film screenplay credits also include Yanks (1979) with Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Gere, and Twice in a Lifetime (1985).

Welland, from Liverpool, also found success as an actor. He received a best supporting BAFTA prize for playing an English teacher in Ken Loach's Kes (1969).‎ He also won a BAFTA award for writing TV plays in 1971.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, four children and six grandchildren.

"Colin will be desperately missed by his family and friends," a family member said in a statement. "Alzheimer's is a cruel illness, and there have been difficult times, but in the end Colin died peacefully in his sleep. We are proud of Colin's many achievements during his life, but most of all he will be missed as a loving and generous friend, husband, father and granddad."

Welland was born Colin Williams on July 4, 1934 in Leigh, Lancashire, England.