Remembering Richard Attenborough, A Look At His Remarkable Career

Lord Richard Attenborough, One of the all-time movie greats, passed away Sunday at 90-years of age. Even though modern audiences know him mostly for his role in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, he has been in some of the best known movies of all time.

A prolific actor, film director and producer, Attenborough was involved in very high-profile movies throughout his lengthy career, which spanned more than six decades. As many of his British colleagues, Lord Attenborough began his career as a stage actor and made appearances in productions at Leicester’s Little Theater — an amateur theater on Dover Street — prior to his moving to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), of which he was President until his death.

But Lord Richard Attenborough is best remembered for his memorable films, which touched millions of movie goers and spanned generations. We take a look at some of his best-known productions as an actor and director.


Lord Richard Attenborough returned to the silver screen in 1993, when he was cast as the eccentric developer John Hammond, for Steven Spielberg’s dinosaurs adventure. This was the first film role Attenborough done since the 1979 Otto Preminger’s adaptation of The Human Factor. Jurassic Park made him popular with modern generations and as always the legendary actor won millions of viewers.


As part of a stellar ensemble, which included such luminaries as Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and Donald Pleasence he played Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett, the head of the escape committee. This was the actor’s first appearance in a major Hollywood blockbuster, which became his most successful film up until that point. During World War II, Lord Richard Attenborough served as an RAF pilot.

GANDHI (1982)

This epic biopic about the life Indian leader of the Independence movement against British rule, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was produced and directed by Lord Richard Attenborough. Starring Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, taking eight of them, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Additionally Gandhi won two Golden Globes, for Best Director and Best Foreign Film.


Lord Richard Attenborough once again sat on the director’s chair for the big screen adaptation of the musical A Chorus Line. Starring Michael Douglas, the film depicts the life of Broadway performers who come together to audition for the latest production, and their struggles to make a living in an extremely competitive market.


The epic 1977 war film directed by Richard Attenborough, as he once again revisited one of his favorite back stories, World War II. It depicts the failed Operation Market Garden during the war, when the Allies attempted to break through German lines and seize several crucial bridges. Once again, Attenborough assembled an impressive list of actors for his massive production, including Anthony Hopkins, Dick Bogard, James Caan, Gene Hackman, Maximilian Schell, and Laurence Olivier among others.


For this classic Christmas fantasy film, Richard Attenborough plays the lovable character Kris Kringle, who wins everyone over at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and is hired to replace a drunken Santa Claus at a department store named Cole’s, after Macy’s declined to be a part of the adaptation. The film was received positively and has made over $46 million in box office revenues world wide.

CHAPLIN (1992)

Another major film, directed and produced by Lord Richard Attenborough, Chaplin is, of course, the biopic of the famed actor/comedian, Charlie Chaplin, starring Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, and Kevin Kline. The movie sees an elderly Chaplin, played by Downey Jr., reviewing his life.


The British musical stars Richard Attenborough, Rex Harrison, Samantha Egger, and Anthony Newley. Even though the film earned $9 million worldwide and was received by negative reviews from critics, it earned two Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song.

Lord Richard Attenborough starred and directed or produced an almost endless list of films during his stellar career and at the time of his passing, this weekend, was renowned for his multifaceted talent. The world of movies has lost one of its greatest luminaries.

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