Arts and Entertainment
‘Notting Hill’ director Roger Mitchell dies at 65
Los Angeles, Sep. 24 (IANS): Filmmaker Roger Michell, known for directing films such as ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Venus’ and ‘My Cousin Rachel’, died aged 65.
He died on Wednesday, his publicist told the UK Press Association, reports variety.com.
A statement from his publicist to the agency on Thursday reads: “It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, writer and father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announce his death at the age of 65 on September 22.”
Born in South Africa, Michell had a successful career in theater, with stints at the UK’s Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was resident director, and the National Theatre, among others.
For TV, he made the miniseries ‘Downtown Lagos’ (1992), followed by the enormously acclaimed adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’ (1993).
Michell made his film directorial debut in 1997 with ‘My Night with Reg’, where a group of gay English men spend a night of reminiscence after one of their friends dies of AIDS.
Romantic comedy ‘Notting Hill’, written by Richard Curtis and starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, was a global smash hit.
Michell is also known for ‘Venus’ starring Peter O’Toole in a role that earned him his final Oscar nomination; ‘Morning Glory’, starring Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams; and ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’, featuring Bill Murray, Laura Linney and Olivia Williams.
The filmmaker’s last fiction features were ‘Blackbird’ (2019), with Susan Sarandon leading an ensemble cast that also included Kate Winslet and Sam Neill and ‘The Duke’ with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.
Michell won BAFTAs for best miniseries for ‘The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies’ and for best single drama for ‘Persuasion’.
Tributes have been pouring in from the industry.
Winslet, who worked with Michell on the drama ‘Blackbird’, called the director “a gorgeous man, who made the world a better place”.
“We are utterly heartbroken to lose the kindest and best of men. Roger Michell was a loving and devoted family man, but was also responsible for bringing together other families, creative families, across the globe,” Winslet said in a statement.
Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and the Sony Pictures Classics team paid tribute to Michell on Thursday, describing him as a “world class filmmaker”.
“We are devastated and shocked by the news of the passing of our dear friend Roger Michell,” a statement from the Sony Pictures Classics team reads.
“We were just with him a few weeks ago in Telluride with ‘The Duke’ celebrating his exceptional accomplishment. Our heart goes out to his family and friends who are experiencing the profound sadness we all share.”
“So incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Roger Michell, a wonderful director with huge integrity and compassion, in this world his kindness mattered so much to me. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Thank you Roger for being so wonderful to us all. Enduring love,” tweeted actor Samantha Morton.
“We’re sad to hear the news that film director Roger Michell has passed away. Best known for ‘Notting Hill’, his other film works include ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Venus’,” tweeted the British Film Institute.
Tricia Tuttle, director of the London Film Festival wrote: “What horrible news about Roger Michell. Devastating for his family. And sad sad news for all of us who have loved so many of his films.”