Tributes paid to ‘titan of cinema’ Attenborough

Richard Attenborough was "an incredibly kind, generous, and magnificently warm man" who was passionate about everything in life, according to those who knew him.

A whole host of people from various walks of life have spoken fondly about Mr Attenborough, who dominated the British film business for over half a century.

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg said: “Dickie Attenborough was passionate about everything in his life — family, friends, country, and career. He made a gift to the world with his emotional epic Gandhi and he was the perfect ringmaster to bring the dinosaurs back to life as John Hammond in Jurassic Park. He was a dear friend and I am standing in an endless line of those who completely adored him.”

Mr Attenborough was named a goodwill ambassador for Unicef in 1987. David Puttnam, Unicef UK ambassador and long-time friend said: “Richard was an incredibly kind, generous, and magnificently warm man whose strong social conscience was borne out in everything he did — from his films such as Gandhi, to his remarkable dedication and commitment to children across the world in his role as Unicef goodwill ambassador.

“Throughout his years as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, Richard was an immensely powerful advocate for children’s issues. Through his creativity, integrity and passion he supported advocacy and fundraising initiatives, delivering amazing impact and transforming children’s lives the world over. I will miss him greatly. Unicef will miss him greatly.”

Ben Kingsley, star of Attenborough’s Oscar-winning epic Gandhi, said he had grown to love the director, who had worked tirelessly to bring the Indian leader’s story to the big screen.

“He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him. I along with millions of others whom he touched through his life and work will miss him dearly.”

Bafta described its former president as a “titan of British cinema” who set an example of “industry, skill, and compassion” that business would do well to live up to.

British Film Institute CEO Amanda Nevill said: “The world has lost a very, very special person. Dickie was multi-talented as an actor, producer and world-class film director, but he was also a warm, compassionate and empathetic man, and a friend to all those who met him.”

Professor Robert Burgess, vice- chancellor of the University of Leicester, described the “sheer energy and dynamism” of Mr Attenborough. Within seconds of meeting him “you felt you had known him all of your life”, the leading academic said.

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