Hollywood Pays Tribute to Richard Attenborough

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The actor, director and producer touched the lives of many in Hollywood and around the world

Richard Attenborough's death at the age of 90 has led to a flurry of tributes from stars from around the world.

Known affectionately as "Dickie," the multiple-award-winning British actor, director and producer worked in the film business for more than half a century, and in that time touched the lives of many in Hollywood, Britain and around the world with his talent, his warmth and his generosity.   

Attenborough the actor won a BAFTA Award in 1964, unusually for two different films — Guns at Batasi and Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Attenborough also won two Golden Globes for his acting in The Sand Pebbles (1966) and Dr. Dolittle (1967). As a director, Attenborough found much success with his 1982 biopic Gandhi that scored him a clean sweep of the BAFTA, the Golden Globe and the Oscar for best director in that year. 

Away from film, Attenborough, whose younger brother is naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, was a tireless campaigner for worthy causes. Attenborough was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a notable campaigner against apartheid in South Africa. Attenborough also held a number of executive and administrative roles, including president of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and life president of his beloved Chelsea Football Club. 

Actor Sir Ben Kingsley, who played Gandhi and took home the best actor award in 1982, said he would miss Attenborough dearly. In a statement to the media, Kingsley said, "Richard Attenborough trusted me with the crucial and central task of bringing to life a dream it took him 20 years to bring to fruition. When he gave me the part of Gandhi it was with great grace and joy. He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him."

Steven Spielberg who worked with Attenborough on Jurassic Park, said in a statement: "Dickie Attenborough was passionate about everything in his life — family, friends, country and career. 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. He was a dear friend, and I am standing in an endless line of those who completely adored him."

Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay released a statement saying: “Lord Richard’s immense contribution to the film industry has few parallels. As a director, actor and producer, he dedicated his lifetime to the arts, entertaining us from both behind and in front of the camera. As a director he took on passion projects, many of which were biographical, highlighting individuals who lived extraordinary lives, dedicated to a particular passion — much like Richard himself. A winner of the 1982 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for the biographical Gandhi, Richard was a true master filmmaker, embodying the alchemy necessary to turn film into art. He will be greatly missed.”

Other stars and organizations have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Attenborough. 


Aug. 24, 8:10 p.m. Updated with additional statement from Directors Guild of America.