'Death Wish' director Michael Winner dies at 77
British film director loses battle with liver disease
Among Britain's long and distinguished film industry, director Michael Winner was an odd duck. British film is usually noted for its restraint, class, style, literacy - whereas Winner's films always went for the jugular, and in the most questionable taste. Helming such bloody crowd pleasers such as Charles Bronson's "Death Wish" And "Death Wish II," Winner has lost his long battle with liver disease. He was 77.
Director Michael Winner, here seen with his frequent star, Charles Bronson,a s he directed "Chato's Land."
Winner most recently appeared in TV advertisements for insurance company Esure. The adverts spawned the catchphrase, "Calm Down dear, it's only a commercial."
Doctors had told Winner that he had less than two years to live. "Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous. A light has gone out in my life," his wife said.
Their relationship was most unusual. First meeting in 1957, when he was 21 and she was 16, they married in 2011 after a decades-long relationship.
Directing some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and Faye Dunaway, Winner later reinvented himself as a restaurant critic, writing about food in his typically flamboyant style.
Winner also founded and funded the Police Memorial Trust following the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. More than 50 officers have been honored by the trust at sites across the country.
A long list of his films include "Shoot to Kill," "Some Like It Cool," "I'll Never Forget What's'isname," "Hannibal Brooks," "The Nightcomers," "Chato's Land," "The Mechanic," "Scorpio," "The Stone Killer," all three in the "Death Wish" series, including "Death Wish II" and "Death Wish III."
As a filmmaker, Winner got his share of bad notices. Of "The Sentinel," and "Exorcist"-inspired horror film, one critic sniped "Michael Winner isn't talented enough to direct traffic!"
To little effect - the actors, officials and fellow filmmakers have chosen to remember Winner as a gregarious lover of life, in lieu of a great director.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
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