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Creator / Richard Attenborough

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"What I am interested in is how actors can touch the heads and hearts of an audience."

Richard Samuel Attenboroughnote  (29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014) was a British actor and director. He was knighted in 1976, and made a life peer, with the title of Baron Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames, in 1993. He also served in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

On stage he was one of the original cast members of The Mousetrap, and played Pinkie Brown in the 1944 theatre adaptation of Brighton Rock; the latter became his Star-Making Role when the play was adapted to film in 1947, and was followed by many other performances as criminals and wrong 'uns of various stripes. His first major Hollywood film was The Great Escape (1963), in which he played Bartlett, the head of the POW escape committee.

He made his directorial debut with Oh! What a Lovely War in 1969. One of his most famous films is Gandhi (1982), which he worked for more than a decade to get made, and which earned him both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Director.

As his directing career took off, Attenborough spent less time in front of the camera, and had no film acting roles at all in the 1980s and early 1990s. (With the exception of a Creator Cameo in A Bridge Too Far, he never acted in any of the films he directed). This changed when he accepted the role of John Hammond in Jurassic Park (1993), and was followed by several more films in which he played grandfatherly or elder-statesman types.

Attenborough was married to actress Sheila Sim, with whom he had three children. He was the elder brother of David Attenborough, the famous maker of nature documentaries.

Films directed by Richard Attenborough with pages on this wiki include:

Attenborough as an actor:

Tropes in his work

  • All-Star Cast: His epic movies Gandhi, A Bridge Too Far, and Chaplin all had huge casts with big stars, often playing small parts or cameos. Attenborough got Dan Aykroyd and Marisa Tomei to show up for basically one scene in Chaplin, as Chaplin's producer Mack Sennett and his (unwilling) co-star Mabel Normand.
  • Cool Old Guy: His usual role when he returned to acting later in his career, playing the cool if badly misguided grandpa in Jurassic Park and Kris Kringle in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
  • Epic Movie: Gandhi, Chaplin, and A Bridge Too Far in particular were big sweeping epics with long run times and huge casts.