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Richard Attenborough was an English actor, film director, producer and entrepreneur best known for his roles in The Great Escape, Miracle on the 34th Street and, most famously in Jurassic Park as John Hammond, the owner of the park who tries to play god. The actor passed away at age of 90 on August 24th, 2014.
Richard Attenborough made his acting debut on stage by making various appearances in shows at Little Theatre in Leicester, prior to his enrollment at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Richard’s film career began in 1942 in an uncredited role as a deserting sailor in the Noël Coward/David Lean production In Which We Serve. The actor later starred in the west-end longest running stage production Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap, In 1963, he appeared in the ensemble cast of The Great Escape as RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett based on the real-life exploits of Roger Bushell. It was his first appearance in a major Hollywood film blockbuster and his most successful film thus far. He also starred in Flight of the Phoenix (1965) and directed Gandhi (1982), for the latter of which he was awarded a number of awards, most notably two Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture in 1982, as well as two Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Foreign Film in 1983.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Although Attenborough had established his name in the British cinema as a renowned actor and filmmaker during the mid-to-late 1960s, he reached a new level of fame in the early 1990s after starring as John Hammond, the main antagonist in the 1993 American science fiction action adventure film Jurassic Park. According to the film’s casting director, Stephen Spielberg convinced Attenborough into taking the role, even after the actor had declined similar offers in two previous Spielberg films, bringing him out of a 14-year hiatus from on-screen acting.
Miracle on the 34th Street (1994)
In 1994, Attenborough starred in the fourth remake of the American Christmas fantasy film Miracle on the 34th Street as Kris Kringle, the protagonist character who is assumed to the be real Santa Clause.
Richard Attenborough was born on August 29th, 1923 in Cambridge, England as the eldest of three brothers, he was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys and later studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Attenborough later served in the RAF which lead to his rise to stardom because of him starring in the propaganda film Journey Together (1943).
Here is every award he has received in no order:
- Academy Award for Best Picture (Ghandi , 1983)
- Academy Award for Best Director (Ghandi , 1983)
- BAFTA Award for Best Film (Ghandi , 1983)
- BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award(1983)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture (The Sand Pebbles , 1967)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture (Ghandi , 1983)
- David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film (Ghandi , 1983)
- BAFTA Award for Best British Film (Shadowlands , 1994)
- BAFTA Award for Best Direction (Ghandi , 1983)
- BAFTA Award for Best British Actor (Séance on a Wet Afternoon , 1965)
- European Film Award of Merit (1988)
- Shakespeare Prize (1992)
- Nierenberg Prize (2005)
- BAFTA Special Award (Film) (1995)
- DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film (Ghandi , 1983)
- David di Donatello European David Award (Ghandi , 1983)
- David di Donatello for Best Foreign Producer (Ghandi , 1983)
- National Board of Review Award for Best Film (Ghandi , 1983)
- New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film (Ghandi , 1983)
In August 2008, Attenborough was admitted to the hospital due to heart problems and was fitted with a pacemaker. In December 2008 he suffered a fall at his home after a stroke. In May 2011, David Attenborough revealed that his brother had been confined to a wheelchair since his stroke in 2008, and while he was still capable of holding a conversation, he stated that “[Richard] won’t be making any more films.” On August 24th, 2014, after years of battling heart disease complications, Richard Attenborough passed away at age of 90, five days before what would have been his 91st birthday.
Following the announcement of the actor’s death, his name quickly became one of the top trending keywords on Google, ranking as the fifth most searched term with more than 200,000 queries in the United States on August 24th, while his name topped the chart with over 1 million queries in the United Kingdom that same day. In the following 24 hours, the fans of the filmmaker and actor on Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter quickly responded with GIF and supercut-style tributes to Attenborough’s achievements and celebrated roles throughout his career.