Actor-director Attenborough dies at 90

LONDON — Acclaimed actor and Oscar-winning director Richard Attenborough, whose film career on both sides of the camera spanned 60 years, has died. He was 90.

The actor’s son, Michael Attenborough, told the BBC that his father died Sunday. He had been in poor health for some time.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement calling Attenborough “one of the greats of cinema.”

“His acting in ‘Brighton Rock’ was brilliant; his directing of ‘Gandhi’ was stunning,” Cameron said.

Attenborough won an Academy Award for best director with “Gandhi” in 1982, only one of many highlights of a distinguished career as actor and director.

With his abundant snow-white hair and beard, Attenborough was one of the most familiar faces on the British arts scene — universally known as “Dickie.”

He appeared in a many major Hollywood films, directed a series of movies and was known for his extensive work as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and other humanitarian causes.

As a director, Attenborough made several successful movies, from “Oh What a Lovely War” in 1969 to “Chaplin” and “Shadowlands” in the 1990s. But his greatest success was “Gandhi,” a film that was 20 years in the planning and won eight Oscars, including best picture.

The generation that was introduced to Attenborough as an avuncular veteran actor in the 1990s — when he played the failed theme park developer in “Jurassic Park” and Kriss Kringle in a remake of “Miracle on 34th Street” — may not have appreciated his dramatic range.

Attenborough had been in frail health since a fall at his house in 2008 and spent his last years in a nursing home with his wife.

He is survived by his wife, their son and a daughter.

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Associate Press Writer Jill Lawless contributed to this report.