British director Michael Winner (known for films as the Death Wish trilogy) passed away Monday at the age of 77. Winner started out in the film industry at the age of 22, making shorts and working on documentaries on low budget films. During the late sixties he worked with actor Oliver Reed on several productions (I'll Never Forget Whats'isname, The Jokers, Hannibal Brooks). In the seventies, Winner began directing Charles Bronson in action films like Chato's Land, The Mechanic, The Stone Killer and Death Wish. He also made films with the likes of Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando (personal friend) during that decade as well.
Michael Winner also edited (using the alias Arnold Crust and Arnold Crust Jr.) and wrote the screenplays for most of his films. After retiring from directing films in 1998, Winner kept busy in his retirement from the film industry by producing commercials and becoming a restaurant critic (before becoming a filmmaker he was a television critic) and wrote nine books. He also founded the Police Memorial Trust on May 3, 1984 (a charitable organization that erects memorials for police officers who died on duty). Winner recently married his long time on & on girlfriend of 50 years Geraldine Lynton-Edwards (the two met when he was an fledgling director and she was a young actress).
Mr. Winner was a unique, polarizing and outspoken individual who didn't care to speak his mind who's exploitative style of film making made him a Cannon Films favorite. Whether it was behind the camera or with a pen. Michael Winner has left a mark upon pop culture that will be hard to top anytime soon.