Born on 29th of August 1923
British hero of the week August 25th 2014
Richard Samuel Attenborough, CBE, was born 29th August 1923. He is an English actor, director and producer and elder brother of naturalist and wildlife filmmaker, Sir David Attenborough. He was born in Cambridge, the eldest son of Levi, a scholar and academic administrator, and Mary, a founding member of the Marriage Guidance Council. Attenborough was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School in Leicester before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He served in the RAF during World War II. His film career began in 1942 when he appeared in 'In Which We Serve'. His breakthrough role was playing a psychopathic gangster in 'Brighton Rock' in 1947. He was one of the original cast members of the West End production of Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap' which first opened in 1952. He and his wife, actress Sheila Sim, both appeared in the play. The couple have been married since 1945 and had 3 children. Sadly, his elder daughter, Jane Holland and his granddaughter died in the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Richard's son Michael Attenborough is also a director. Attenborough worked in British comedy films such as 'Private's Progress' and 'I'm All Right Jack' in the 1950s. He also formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes and developed his role as a producer on projects including 'The League of Gentlemen', 'The Angry Silence' and 'Whistle Down the Wind'. His film debut as a director was the screen version of the hit musical, 'Oh What a Lovely War' in 1969, and his acting appearances started to become more sporadic. However, he won a BAFTA Award for Best Actor for his role of the Regimental Sergeant Major in 'Guns at Batasi', as well appearing in 'The Great Escape', his first appearance in a major Hollywood blockbuster. In 1967 and 1968 he won Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor in the films 'The Sand Pebbles' and 'Doctor Dolittle'. His directing work took over and he directed 2 epic period films, 'Young Winston' in 1972, 'A Bridge Too Far' in 1977, and in 1982 he won an
Oscar for Directing the epic, 'Gandhi'. He also produced 'Gandhi', which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He was nominated for Golden Globe Awards for Best Director for the screen version of the musical, 'A Chorus Line', as well as the story of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in 'Cry Freedom'. A return to acting saw him star in Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park' in 1993 as well as the 1997 sequel, and in 1994 he appeared in the remake of 'Miracle on 34th Street'. His most recent films as a director and producer include 'Chaplin' in 1992 and 'Shadowlands' in 1993 and 'In Love and War' in 1996. Throughout his career on and behind the stage and screen, he has juggled various positions overseeing arts, media and charitable organizations including President of RADA, President of BAFTA, President of the Gandhi Foundation, President of the National Film & Television School, Chairman of Capital Radio, Chairman of Goldcrest Films, and Deputy Chairman and Chairman of Channel Four Television between 1982 to 1992. He is passionate about Chelsea Football Club and served as director between 1969 to 1982 and since 1993 has been Life Vice President. He fervently believes in education for all, regardless of race, creed or religion, and is patron of the United World Colleges as well as Chancellor of the University of Sussex. He is a patron of University College, Leicester, where his father was the one time principal, and the university's Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts was opened in 1997 in his honour. He received a CBE in 1967, was knighted in 1976 and made Baron Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames in 1993.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/10/31/richard_attenborough_artic BBC profile
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