Here at Word of the Nerd, we hold great respect for the people who make our fantasies come to life on-screen. Richard Attenborough was one such man: widely respected with a filmography on IMDB listing 72 acting credits alone. The man was also a prolific director and producer. From Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street to the maker of our wildest dreams dream park in Jurassic Park, this man helped create worlds meant for everyone to revel and marvel at. He lived a long and full life, attaining some of the honors reserved for the likes of himself and Sir Ian McKellen, such as a British knighthood and receiving directorial acclaim for his film Ghandhi, a piece he both directed and produced – it won 8 Oscars, 2 of which for the Lord, himself.
And although it is a joke, a human desire to find patterns in our world, especially in moments like these, three iconic celebrity deaths have occurred in a rather sort time span. Lauren Bacall, golden age screen siren died on August 12 this month, and Robin Williams, the man who launched a billion laughs, died on August 11. Attenborough seems to round out the pattern that many have been waiting to see.
It is always strange to feel so affected by the deaths of people we’ve never even met, but because of their place in our homes and hearts through their films, most of us have visceral reactions to their mortality. Their friends and family grieve even deeper, however, and one of the best quotes I’ve read in memoriam of Lord Attenborough comes from Steven Spielberg:
“He made a gift to the world with his emotional epic Ghandhi and he was the perfect ringmaster to bring the dinosaurs back to life as John Hammond in Jurassic Park.”
He was not just an active member in the entertainment industry, but was an outspoken social commentator, using his position as a platform to, most notably, fight apartheid in South Africa, but in other arenas, as well. For a look at this great man’s career through pictures, check out this Time article.
So long Lord Attenborough: your light in this world will be sorely missed.