RIP Michael Winner: British Director Dies At 77

Michael Winner British film director and producer Michael Winner has died aged 77, according to his wife Geraldine, who released a statement paying tribute to her husband:
"Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous. "A light has gone out in my life."
Winner, who directed films on both sides of the Atlantic, including Death Wish and The Big Sleep, had been ill for some time, and had said last summer that he had been given 18 months to live. He displayed a love of film early on, particularly in writing, and began his career as a journalist and film critic before joining Motion Pictures Limited and releasing his first feature film - Shoot To Kill - in 1960. He started with a slant towards satire, but moved into more commercial material - particularly in the Death Wish series - later. In a career that spanned five decades, Winner worked with talents as bright as Oliver Reed, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren and Michael Caine and made a number of commercial hits, including the controversial Death Wish series with Charles Bronson. In an interview with The Big Issue last year he had this to say about how his death would be reported:
"When I die, it€™s going to be €˜Death Wish director dies€™. I don€™t mind though €“ Death Wish was an epoch-making film. The first film in the history of cinema where the hero kills other civilians. It had never been done before. Since then it has been the most copied film ever. Tarantino put it in his top 10 films ever made."
Winner also built a reputation as a barbed food critic, famously pronouncing "being difficult" as one of his favourite past-times. In later years, Winner became famous for his "Calm Down, Dear" catchphrase as part of a particularly annoying TV advertising campaign, but the director will be remembered more fondly for his work in films. RIP Michael Winner (1935-2013)
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