UK: Film director Michael Winner dies aged 77

Film director Michael Winner has died, aged 77.

Film director Michael Winner has died, aged 77. - Credit: PA

FILM director and restaurant critic Michael Winner has died, aged 77, his wife Geraldine confirmed today.

Mr Winner, who had been ill for some time, died on Monday at his London home in Kensington, where he was being nursed by his wife Geraldine.

Last summer, he said liver specialists had given him 18 months to live.

Paying tribute to her husband Mrs Winner, a former dancer who he married two years ago, Mrs Winner said in a statement: “Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous.

“A light has gone out in my life.”

In a film career which spanned more than 50 years, he worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and Faye Dunaway.

Mr Winner made more than 30 films, including the blockbuster Death Wish series.

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He was also famous for his barbed restaurant reviews, written for The Sunday Times under the banner “Winner’s Dinners”.

Born in Hampstead, London in 1935, he began his career as a journalist and film critic before joining Motion Pictures Limited as a writer and editor in 1956.

His first work as a director was satirical but he became more well known for his action films, especially the violent Death Wish series, starring Charles Bronson.

In later years, he also directed a series of commercials for an insurance company featuring the catchphrase “calm, down dear!”

Two years ago, Prime Minister David Cameron was criticised for addressing the line to a female colleague in the House Of Commons during a debate on the NHS.

For his entry in the 2012 edition of Who’s Who, the director listed his interests as “eating, being difficult, making table mats, washing silk shirts” and “doing Pilates badly”.

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