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Actor and director Richard Attenborough passes

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Sir Richard Attenborough has passed away today at age 90 according to his son in a recent report from BBC News. Michael, a theatre director and former artistic director of the Almeida Theatre in Islington, North London, stated his father passed away "at lunchtime on Sunday." Attenborough is survived by his wife, who had also been living with him in a nursing facility, and his daughter, Charlotte, an actress.

Attenborough, born in Cambridge, England in 1923, was well known early in his career for the portrayal of Pinkie Brown in the British film noir "Brighton Rock" released in 1947. He had married his wife, actress Sheila Sim, in 1945 with whom he had three children. Eldest daughter Jane Holland was killed in the 2004 tsunami in South Asia.

An early acting career begun at the age of 12 eventually saw Attenborough make his stage debut at the age of 18. During WWII, Attenborough served with the Royal Air Force and was affiliated with the RAF film unit stationed at Pinewood Studios. He worked professionally as an actor and director in a career that spanned six decades, and initially became popular in the US after the release of "The Great Escape" in the early 1960s.

Attenborough was the President of Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Chairman of Capital Radio, President of BAFTA, and President of the British National Film and Television School. He is also a vice patron of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund and President of the Gandhi Foundation.

Earning two Oscars for "Gandhi" in 1982 for Best Director and Best Picture, and several BAFTAs, Attenborough portrayed John Hammond in the popular film "Jurassic Park" in 1993 and its sequel, "The Lost World." According to several reports, it was Attenborough's life's ambition to direct "Gandhi."