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Michael Winner Has Died
Jokers and Death Wish director was 77

21 January 2013  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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Michael Winner

Michael Winner, director of Death Wish, producer, and of late, Sunday Times food critic, has died. He was 77.

Born in Hampstead in 1935, Winner cut his teeth as a journalist, working as a cub reporter on the Kensington Post, Showgirl Glamour Revue and the NME, before scoring a job as assistant director making BBC television programmes.

By the early '60s he'd made a name for himself as a director. Shoot To Kill, a thriller about a showbiz reporter that had shades of autobiography about it, marked his feature debut. But it was his collaboration with Oliver Reed, beginning with The Jokers in 1964 and continuing with I'll Never Forget What'sisname and Hannibal Brooks, that gave his career a timely boost.

He was best known as a filmmaker for 1974's tough-guy thriller Death Wish. In it, Charles Bronson played Paul Kersey, a vigilante whose violent quest to avenge the murder of his wife was set against a bleak and brooding New York cityscape. The film was a box-office smash and launched a Death-franchise that never quite matched the appeal - or controversy - of the original, or their 1972 thriller The Mechanic.

1998's comedy-thriller Parting Shots proved to be his last movie, with Winner turning hand back to journalism and writing often brutal, usually entertaining restaurant criticism for The Sunday Times, occasionally also popping up in insurance ads to cheer up haggard motorists.

"I’ve had an incredible life," an ailing Winner reflected last year. "Brando was my best friend, Mitchum, Burt Lancaster, even though he tried to kill me three times... I can look back and say I have lived a life that very few people alive have lived. I have done 40 major movies with the biggest stars in the world.”

His wife Geraldine, who survives him, issued a statement describing him as "a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous".


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Your Comments

Doen't anyone care anymore?
Well I am surprised at how little response there is to this event.. I have fond memories of Winner's "Hanibal Brookes" back in the seventies, featuring a great story and soundtrack along with a great Oliver Reed. Winner may not have been everyone's cup of tea but he did make some interesting films in the late sixties and early seventies and he was not the hack everyone seems so keen to paint him as. More

Posted by ericcoyle at 13:02 on 25 January 2013 | Report This Post

he made 5 great movies
THE NIGHTCOMERS brando.. DEATH WISH .. THE BIG SLEEP mitchum .. THE MECHANIC remade with ben foster .. THE SENTINAL burgess meredith as the devil .. More

Posted by bill the butcher at 10:43 on 22 January 2013 | Report This Post

Death Wish?
Well you better be careful what you wish for... More

Posted by Pelle at 20:44 on 21 January 2013 | Report This Post

Awesome director!!! RIP Michael Winner
I love Death Wish, it's an absolute classic. More

Posted by SUPER_movie_FREAK at 19:58 on 21 January 2013 | Report This Post

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