Lewis Gilbert: Director of Alfie and three Bond films dies

Lewis Gilbert, the British director of Alfie, Educating Rita and three James Bond films, has died at the age of 97.

Born in London in 1920, he started out as a child actor before directing war films including Reach for the Sky and Carve Her Name with Pride.

He made his Bond debut with 1967’s You Only Live Twice, going on to direct The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

The director’s son, John Gilbert, spoke to the BBC and confirmed his father “died peacefully in his sleep”.

Gilbert, who worked together in film with his father added: “He was a wonderful man with a great sense of humour. He was hard-working and we worked on many films together.”

Gilbert said his father passed away on Friday in Monaco, where he had lived since 1975, after “suffering from dementia for close to a decade”.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to the director saying he would be “sorely missed”.

In a statement they said: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert.

“Lewis was a true gentleman. He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films.

“His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series. He will be sorely missed.”

Comedian David Walliams was among those to pay tribute on Twitter to the film-maker “for all the joy you brought me & millions of others”.

Gilbert was Oscar nominated in 1967 for directing Alfie, the film that made Sir Michael Caine a global star.

He was made a CBE in 1997 and received a fellowship from the British Film Institute in 2001.

Gilbert’s other films include Shirley Valentine, which was based, like Educating Rita before it, on a play by Willy Russell.

One of his first directing credits was on The Ten Year Plan, a 1945 documentary about the post-war need for prefabricated housing.

His last film, 2002’s Before You Go, saw him reunite with Dame Julie Walters, who was nominated for an Oscar for Educating Rita.

Gilbert’s autobiography, All My Flashbacks, was published in 2010.

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