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August 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Attenborough, a giant of the British film industry who is probably best remembered in the U.S. as the genial scientist who brought dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park and as Santa Claus in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, has died in London just days before his 91st birthday on August 29. In an obituary, Financial Times film critic Nigel Andrews wrote that Attenborough "played so many roles and held so many posts in the British film industry during the late 20th century that casual observers could be forgiven for thinking he was the British film industry." As a director, his crowning achievement was Gandhi, for which he was awarded an Oscar in 1982. (The film won eight Oscars altogether, including best picture.) He was both producer and director of the 1992 biopic Chaplin and 1987’s Cry Freedom, about South Africa’s anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. He received a knighthood in 1976, was made a baron in 1993, and took on numerous executive jobs in the British film and TV industries, including chairman of the British Film Institute, chairman of Channel 4, and trustee of the Tate Gallery. Indeed, the BBC noted in its obituary that Attenborough’s "vast entry" in Who’s Who lists more than 30 organizations of which he was then or had been a director, trustee, fellow, chairman or president.