He went into production with pal Bryan Forbes as they formed Beaver Films setting up their own projects like THE ANGRY SILENCE (a good discovery this year), WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON (where he delivered another powerful peformance. He was in THE GREAT ESCAPE, GUNS AT BATASI, THE SAND PEBBLES and later 60s roles included DR DOLITTLE and two with Lee Remick (Inspector Trustcott in the dreadful film of Orton's LOOT, and A SEVERED HEAD from the Iris Murdoch hit), he was another chilling murderer in 10 RILLINGTON PLACE and in Satyajit Ray's THE CHESS PLAYERS.
Lord Attenborough was also very busy behind the scenes, being on the boards of many organisations like Channel 4, the BFI, and Chelsea Football Club, as well as lots of charitable organisations. He returned to acting for Spielberg in JURASSIC PARK. His enduring popularity ensured that he had, for over half a century, played an integral part in British cultural life.
I found myself standing next to him and his wife at the BFI in 1970, as we waited for the Dirk Bogarde lecture, and he chatted away to me and signed my programme. In declining health in recent years, and having lost his daughter and grand-daughter in the 2004 tsunami, he and Sheila had moved to a retirement home. The BBC had prepared an hour long tribute which they screened this week, highlighting his varied careers and the affection and high regard in which he will continue to be held.
Sandy Wilson, another 90 year old - English composter and lyricist, best known for his THE BOY FRIEND, that 1920s pastiche which has been very successful over the years (and which gave the young Julie Andrews her first success), and Ken Russell filmed it in 1971, though Wilson hated that version! Set in Mme Dubonnet’s finishing school on the French Riviera, The Boy Friend concerns a group of Bright Young Things intent on snaring “that certain thing called the boyfriend” — a lightweight plot which served mainly as aframework for a series of catchy songs, including It’s Never Too Late To Fall In Love, Won’t You Charleston With Me and I Could Be Happy With You.