Oscar-winning actor and film director Richard Attenborough, who passed away on Aug 24, leaves behind an illustrious legacy spanning seven decades.
Highly regarded as one of Britain’s most successful actors and filmmakers, Richard Samuel Attenborough, 90, was born on Aug 29, 1923 in Cambridge, England. Knighted in 1976 and made a baron in June 1993, he was the elder brother of naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough.
His father Frederick was principal of University College, Leicester, and his mother marched behind a banner denouncing Spanish dictator General Franco and helped care for Spanish Civil War refugees. From his parents, Attenborough inherited social-minded political leanings that informed his award-winning films such as Gandhi and Cry Freedom.
Attenborough, who longed to act from the age of four, won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1941. That same year he made his stage debut in London’s West End and in 1942 played his first film part in Noel Coward’s In Which We Serve. The aspiring actor then joined the Royal Air Force, qualifying as a pilot, and in 1944 volunteered for a unit filming over Germany.