A look at the career and life of Sir Richard Attenborough

Lord Richard Attenbororough
Lord Richard Attenbororough

(CNN) – Lord Richard Attenborough began his showbiz career as a classically trained English actor.

But he also found great success behind the camera as an “actor’s director.”

The Academy Award winner died Sunday, according to the BBC citing his son.

CNN takes a look back at Attenborough’s extraordinary life and career.

Moviegoers may best remember Richard Attenborough as the founder of “Jurassic Park,” or as Santa Claus in the 1994 remake of “Miracle on 34th Street.”

But “Sir Dickie” began his career some five decades earlier in London with a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

He put his studies on hold to serve in World War II. And after the war appeared in several war-themed movies like “The Great Escape” with Steve McQueen.

Attenborough played a number of character roles. Among them, the circus ringmaster in “Doctor Doolittle.”

But he soon found himself drawn to other side of the camera.

“It’s what I love. I’m not a great movie director. I’m not an auteur. I’m a storyteller. I’m a craftsman. And I love beyond anything else working with the actors and finding a way to make the actor believe that what they’re about to do is the best performance they’ve ever given,” Attenborough said.

Attenborough was knighted in 1976. But his true crowning achievement was producing and directing the epic biopic “Gandhi,” a film that took him 20 years to make.

“I was bankrupt several times. I had to mortgage my house. My family suffered to a certain extent. I placed things at risk because I cared about it so much,” Attenborough said.

In the end, it paid off.

“Gandhi” won eight Academy Awards in 1983.

Attenborough found success in his family life as well. His marriage to actress Sheila Sim spanned seven decades and produced three children, while younger brother David became the renowned nature broadcaster. A family that shared Attenborough’s passion for the craft.

“Art such means a great deal to me. My philosophy has always been that I believe that art is not an elitist gift for a few select people. Art is for everyone,” Attenborough said.

Lord Richard Attenbororough was 90 years old.

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