Richard Attenborough

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Richard Attenborough, Baron Attenborough, at the Toronto International Film Festival (2007)

Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough Kt CBE (born August 29, 1923 in Cambridge , England - † August 24, 2014 in London ) was a British actor , director and multiple Oscar and Golden Globe winner.

life and work

Attenborough grew up as the son of a very socially committed mother; his father later directed the University of Leicester . The wildlife filmmaker and naturalist Sir David Attenborough is his younger brother. From 1939 Curt Bejach's daughters Helga and Irene lived with the family. The girls had  escaped from Germany on the Kindertransport at the time of National Socialism and were later adopted by Attenborough's parents.

At the age of 17 Richard went to London and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art there . He made his debut in 1942 at the West End Theater. In the same year he also appeared in a smaller role in the film In Which We Serve .

After three years as a pilot in the Royal Air Force , Attenborough turned back to acting after World War II . His breakthrough came with the role of the young psychopathic gangster Pinkie Brown from Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock , a role he played both in London's West End and in the 1947 film adaptation of the same name . In 1959, he founded the production company Beaver Films with Bryan Forbes . In total, he made around 30 films in the 1940s and 1950s. His big breakthrough as an actor came in 1963 with the classic Broken Chains , in which he starred alongside Steve McQueen , Charles Bronson , James Coburn and James Garner .

From the late 1960s, Attenborough was increasingly active as a director and producer. His greatest success behind the camera was in 1982 with Gandhi , who won eight Academy Awards (including Best Director and Best Picture ) as well as numerous other awards. Attenborough had fought for funding for 20 years. In 1993 Attenborough was back as an actor for the first time since 1979. Steven Spielberg cast him in Jurassic Park and fulfilled "a lifelong dream".

Attenborough has also held numerous offices, including on the executive boards of Channel 4 , the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art , of which he was President from 2004 until his death, the British Film Institute and the British Academy of Screen and Television Arts . Since 1997 he has been President of the National Film and Television School and Lecturer at Oxford University . His numerous board positions earned him the nickname "Chairman of London".

After falling at his London home in late 2008, Attenborough's health deteriorated. He died in London in August 2014, a few days before his 91st birthday. He left behind his wife, the actress Sheila Sim (1922-2016). They had married in 1945 and had three children together: Michael, Charlotte and Jane. Attenborough and his wife appeared on stage as Sergeant Trotter in the first London performances of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap . Their son Michael Attenborough is a theater director and was director of the Almeida Theater in London from 2002 to 2013 . He is married to actress Karen Lewis and has two sons. Daughter Charlotte is also an actress. Their marriage had three children. Jane (* 1955) was killed in the 2004 tsunami in South Asia together with her mother-in-law and her daughter Lucy, who was born in 1989. Her other two children, the actor Samuel Holland and another granddaughter of Richard Attenborough survived the disaster.

Attenborough's German dubbing voices include Friedrich W. Bauschulte (in the more recent films, including the first two parts of Jurassic Park ), Michael Chevalier , Paul Klinger and Joachim Nottke .


Sir Richard Attenborough (1983)

Attenborough used his popularity and high public reputation to stand up for the weak and disadvantaged in the world. In 1983 he received the Martin Luther King Peace Prize for his commitment . In the course of time he was awarded numerous other honorary degrees. Among other things, he was UNICEF ambassador, honorary citizen of the city of Leicester, honorary doctorate and chancellor of the University of Sussex , commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres , knight of the Legion of Honor and holder of the Padma Bhushan Order.

In 1967 he became Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) , in 1976 Queen Elizabeth II proposed him to a Knight Bachelor degree , which was followed by the address "Sir". On July 30, 1993, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, he was raised as a Life Peer with the title Baron Attenborough , of Richmond upon Thames in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames . The seat associated with the title in the House of Lords he took on the side of the Labor Party .

Richard Attenborough received the Shakespeare Prize from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation FVS in 1992 and the Japanese Praemium Imperiale cultural prize in 1998 .

Film awards and recognitions (selection)

Filmography (selection)

As an actor

As a director

As a producer

  • 1960: The Angry Silence
  • 1961: ... where the wind blows (Whistle Down the Wind)
  • 1962: The indiscreet Room (The L-Shaped Room)
  • 1964: On a gloomy afternoon (seance on a Wet Afternoon)
  • 1969: Oh! What a lovely war
  • 1982: Gandhi
  • 1987: Cry Freedom
  • 1992: Chaplin
  • 1993: Shadowlands
  • 1996: In Love and War
  • 1999: Gray Owl
  • 2007: Closing the Ring

Web links

Commons : Richard Attenborough  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Ronald Bergan: Richard Attenborough obituary., August 25, 2014, accessed August 25, 2014
  2. Berlin houses: The sun should look in here, not the Gestapo
  3. Sir Richard Attenborough remembers Kindertransport
  4. Verena Lueken : A great uncle for everyone., August 25, 2014, accessed August 25, 2014
  5. Benedict Noghtingale: Richard Attenborough, Actor, Director and Giant of British Film, Dies at, August 24, 2014, accessed August 24, 2014
  6. : Sir Richard Attenborough dies at the age of 90 , accessed on August 26, 2014
  7. ^ "Gandhi" director: Richard Attenborough is dead, accessed on August 25, 2014
  8. The photo that breaks Richard Attenborough's heart: Diana and the granddaughter he adored ... both cut down in their prime at, accessed January 25, 2016
  9. ^ The London Gazette : No. 53397, p. 13291 , HMSO, August 10, 1993.