'Notting Hill' director Roger Michell passes away at 65


Roger Michell, the British stage, television and film director whose movies include the indelibly popular romantic comedy 'Notting Hill' has died, his family said Thursday. He was 65. Photo: AP

Roger Michell, the director of such films as Notting Hill, Venus and My Cousin Rachel, died on Wednesday (Sept 22), his publicist told the UK Press Association. He was 65.

A statement from his publicist to the agency on Thursday reads: "It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, writer and father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announce his death at the age of 65 on September 22."

Born in South Africa, Michell had a successful career in theatre, with stints at the UK's Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was resident director, and the National Theatre, among others. For TV, he made the miniseries Downtown Lagos (1992), followed by the enormously acclaimed adaptation of Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha Of Suburbia (1993).

Michell made his film directorial debut with My Night With Reg (1997), where a group of gay English men spend a night of reminiscence after one of their friends dies of AIDS.

Romantic comedy Notting Hill (1999), written by Richard Curtis and starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, was a global smash hit and made Michell an in-demand filmmaker across the pond in Hollywood. Thriller Changing Lanes (2002), starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, followed, as did The Mother (2003), which saw Michell reunite with Kureishi.

Michell is also known for Venus (2006), again written by Kureishi, starring Peter O'Toole in a role that earned him his final Oscar nomination; Morning Glory (2010), starring Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams; and Hyde Park On Hudson (2012, featuring Bill Murray, Laura Linney and Olivia Williams.

The filmmaker's last fiction features were Blackbird (2019), with Susan Sarandon leading an ensemble cast that also included Kate Winslet and Sam Neill and The Duke (2020), with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

Michell won Baftas for best miniseries for The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies (2014) and for best single drama for Persuasion (1995). – Reuters

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