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Actor/Director Richard Attenborough dies at 90

Richard Attenborough dies at 90
Richard Attenborough dies at 90
Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Renowned actor and Academy award-winning director Richard Attenborough died at age 90. Attenborough's career both in front of and behind the camera spanned an impressive 60 years.

Michael Attenborough, the actor's son, reported to the BBC that his father passed away on Sunday. The actor had been in poor health before his passing.

Prime Minister David Cameron called Attenborough "one of the greats of cinema," in a statement that he issued.

"His acting in `Brighton Rock' was brilliant, his directing of `Gandhi' was stunning," Cameron went on to say.

Ben Kingsley, famous for his role as Mahatma Gandhi, spoke about Attenborough's 20 year intention to bring Gandhi's story to film. The movie won eight Oscars, including best picture, best director for Attenborough and best actor for Kingsley.

"He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him," Kingsley spoke of Attenborough. "I along with millions of others whom he touched through his life and work will miss him dearly."

Attenborough was one of the most well recognized faces on the British arts scene with his bright white beard. He was known in the industry as "Dickie."

He appeared in quite a few Hollywood movies and directed a series of films. Attenborough was known for his charitable work as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF among other humanitarian causes.

Attenborough directed several successful films including "Oh What a Lovely War" in 1969, "Chaplin" and "Shadowlands" in the 1990s.

He was unlike his brothers in that Attenborough wanted to pursue a career in the arts from a young age. His brother David became a biologist and television broadcaster. His brother John went into the auto business. Richard did not have a strong suit in academics. He loved performing in plays.

Richard left school at age 16 and was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Attenborough married a dramatic peer, Sheila Sim, who became a famous actress herself. Eventually, Sims left the theater behind to have three children. She also became a magistrate.

Attenborough is survived by his wife and son, Michael, his daughter, Charlotte Attenborough. His other daughter, Jane Holland, died in the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 along with her own child, Lucy.

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