Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough

Steven Spielberg has named him as an influence.

12/02: Said he would go back on his claim to never appear in front of the camera again for one role only: that of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films.

12/26/04: Members of his family - daughter Jane, son-in-law Michael Holland, grandchildren Sam, Lucy and Alice and Michael's mother Jane - were holidaying in Phuket, Thailand, when the area was hit by the South Asian tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. Lord Attenborough lost his daughter, her mother-in-law and his 14-year-old granddaughter Lucy in the tragedy. His elder granddaughter, 17-year-old Alice, was seriously injured and his son-in-law and grandson survived unscathed.

1952: Was the first to star in Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap", now the longest-running play in the world.

1971-94: Vice-president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

1978: Officially retired from acting. He agreed to make a return to acting in Jurassic Park (1993), saying he was a huge admirer of Steven Spielberg and always felt bad that Gandhi (1982) had won the best picture award instead of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)..

1990: Freeman of the City of Leicester, England.

1993: Fellow of King's College, London.

2002-: Third president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

2003: Was awarded the Patricia Rothermere Award for his lifelong service to theatre at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

2003: Was made President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), a role that had been vacant since the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

2004: 57 years after he starred in Brighton Rock (1947), his son Michael Attenborough directed a musical version of Graham Greene's novel.

5/11/05: Gave a reading at a national British memorial service for the victims of the South Asian tsunami. He lost three members of his family in the tragedy.

9/05: Attended the funeral of British film producer Lord John Brabourne.

According to his brother David Attenborough, Richard is no longer able to walk and gets about in a wheelchair. However, he still has all his other faculties about him, and is still as gregarious as ever.

Along with Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner and Robert Redford one of six actors to win an Academy Award for "Best Director".

Appointed a CBE in 1967, knighted in 1976 and created a life peer in 1993.

Before entrusting post-production on Jurassic Park (1993) to his friend George Lucas, Steven Spielberg thought he would have to divide his time between this and directing Schindler's List (1993). Spielberg at one point asked Attenborough, who had just appeared in Jurassic Park (1993), to serve as assistant director on Schindler's List (1993). This would have reunited Attenborough with Ben Kingsley, whom he directed in Gandhi (1982), which defeated E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) for Best Picture and Best Director. Attenborough's services turned out to be unnecessary, but he is not without his own connection to the material. While Attenborough is not himself Jewish, he does have two Jewish sisters: after World War II, his parents adopted two little girls whose parents had died in the Holocaust.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 78-84. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.

Brother-in-law of actor Gerald Sim