Richard Attenborough, ‘Jurassic Park’ Actor and ‘Gandhi’ Director, Dead at 90
Richard Attenborough, the actor who famously portrayed Professor John Hammond in the Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park,' as well as the acclaimed director of 'Gandhi,' passed away this past Sunday.
The actor-director had been living in a nursing home for many years, and his son, Michael, confirmed his passing at the age of 90 to The BBC. Many have already paid tribute, including Spielberg, who said, "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."
While Attenborough is mainly known in the US for 'Jurassic Park' and 'Gandhi,' the latter of which earned him two Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture in 1983, he was also a renown actor of British cinema and stage since the early '40s. Notable roles include Pinkie Brown in 1947's 'Brighton Rock' and Lt. Richard Lexy in 1960's 'The League of Gentlemen.' He finally broke out internationally, though, with his first Hollywood feature film, 'The Great Escape' in 1963, playing opposite the great Steve McQueen.
His role of a British officer in a German POW camp acted as a launching pad for a new wave in his career, leading to roles in such films as 'The Sand Pebbles' and 'Doctor Dolittle,' both of which earned him Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actor. However, it was a role in the classic hit 'Jurassic Park' that made him a recognizable figure for a new generation of moviegoers, in addition to him playing the lovable Santa in the remake of 'Miracle on 34th Street' opposite 'Matilda' star Mara Wilson.
Aside from acting, Attenborough was known for directing a wide range of films, from his first project 'Oh! What a Lovely War' to 'Cry Freedom' to 'A Chorus Line,' but he'll be best known for his work on 1982's 'Gandhi,' the story of Mohandas K. Gandhi as he went from lawyer to the famed leader of Indian revolts against British rule through nonviolent protests. The film received eight Oscars, including Best Actor for Ben Kingsley.
Said the actor of Attenborough's passing, "I along with millions of others whom he touched through his life and work will miss him dearly."