- NAME: Richard Attenborough
- OCCUPATION: Actor
- BIRTH DATE: August 29, 1923 (Age: 89)
- EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Sir Richard Samuel Attenborough
- Originally: Richard Samuel Attenborough
- AKA: Sir Richard
- AKA: Lord Attenborough
- Nickname: Dickie
- AKA: Sir Richard Attenborough
- AKA: Lord Richard Attenborough
- AKA: Richard Attenborough
- ZODIAC SIGN: Virgo
Best Known For
Richard Attenborough is an award-winning actor and director known for helming acclaimed works like Gandhi and Cry Freedom.
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Born on August 29, 1923, in Cambridge, England, Richard Attenborough went on to pursue an acting career, known for British military dramas and the American POW film The Great Escape. He won several awards in the 1960s and made his film directorial debut with the satirical Oh! What a Lovely War. He eventually went on to direct the masterpiece Gandhi, for which he won Academy Awards for best director and picture. In recent years,
"Unless you use this extraordinary invention [of film] to some degree to make the cry for compassion or the plea for tolerance or whatever it is, then you deny the genius of its invention. I passionately believe that."
Attenborough has continued his acting work and directed other films, including Cry Freedom, Chaplin and Shadowlands.
Richard Samuel Attenborough was born on August 29, 1923, in Cambridge, England. His mother was a writer who was involved in socially progressive work, and his father was a college principal. In addition to having three sons, one of whom would become noted naturalist David Attenborough, Richard's parents adopted two German girls of Jewish descent during World War II.
Richard Attenborough developed a passion for acting and performance as a youth, with his father encouraging him to pursue theatrical work if he could dedicate himself to the craft. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, earning the Leverhulme Scholarship. It was at the Royal Academy that he met his future wife, Sheila Sim.
Attenborough made his professional stage debut in the early 1940s, in a production of Ah Wilderness!. He then had his big-screen debut in 1943, playing a young sailor in the military drama In Which We Serve.
Attenborough served in the Royal Air Force before returning to film, particularly gaining notice for his role in 1947's Brighton Rock. Many roles followed, including those in The Guinea Pig (1948), Morning Departure (1950) and Hell Is Sold Out (1951). He especially became known for his work in various military dramas.
During the 1960s, Attenborough earned attention in the United States as part of the ensemble cast of the POW film The Great Escape (1963). Soon after, he won a British Film Academy Award for his performance in Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964). He won Golden Globe Awards for supporting actor roles during this period as well, for the films The Sand Pebbles (1966) and Doctor Dolittle (1967).
In 1969, Attenborough made his big-screen directorial debut with the musical Oh! What a Lovely War, which critiqued the loss of life and military maneuvering of World War I. The film starred several prominent British thespians, including Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave and Laurence Olivier, and earned a Golden Globe in the foreign film category.
Making some onscreen film appearances in the early 1970s, Attenborough then directed a biopic on Winston Churchill, Young Winston (1972), and followed that up by helming the 1977 World War II drama A Bridge Too Far.
In 1982 came the masterpiece that has perhaps defined Attenborough's career: He directed Gandhi, an epic film that chronicled the life of the pacifist leader Mahatma Gandhi, with Ben Kingsley in the lead role.
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