Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park’s John Hammond, Has Died At Age 90

Legendary British actor, director, and producer Richard Attenborough, aka The Right Honourable The Lord Attenborough, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (aren’t British titles the best?) has died at the age of 90.

Not to be confused with his younger brother, David, who narrates the UK version of Planet Earth, the Rt. Hon. Richard is probably best known to my generation as Jurassic Park‘s professor John Hammond (star of my all-time favorite Jurassic Park mash-up, see below). Some of his most famous roles as an actor came in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Doctor Doolittle, and Santa Claus in the 90s remake of Miracle On 34th Street, and earned acclaim as a director for films such as Gandhi, Chaplin, and Shadowlands. Attenborough won a best director and a best picture for Gandhi, while Chaplin earned Robert Downey Jr. an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA win.

Lord Attenborough had been in a nursing home with his wife for a number of years, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz said. He had also been in a wheelchair since falling down stairs six years ago, our correspondent added.

His son told the BBC that Lord Attenborough died at lunchtime on Sunday.

Okay, sure, but how did he actually die? Motorcyle wreck? Skydiving accident? Knife fight? The world needs answers.

Born in Cambridge in 1923, he started acting at the age of just 12, making his professional stage debut aged 18.
He was appointed a CBE in 1967 and knighted nine years later in 1976, before being made a life peer in 1993.
He married his wife, actress Sheila Sim, in 1945. His son Michael was born in 1949, followed by two daughters, Jane and Charlotte. [BBC]

I’ll always think of Richard Attenborough as combining all of the best stereotypes about the English. Thoughtful, restrained, studied, with a great sense of personal integrity. I mean look at that banner image. They should put his face on a stamp, or the money, or on the underside of the wigs.