Director David Leland Dies, Aged 82

David Leland

by James White |
Published on

David Leland, a director of stage and screen whose filmmaking CV includes films such as Wish You Were Here, Personal Services and Land Girls, has died. He was 82.

Born in 1941 in Cambridge, Leland initially trained as an actor at the Central Speech of School and Drama and had many stage credits before moving into direction at the Crucible Theatre. That began his collaboration with Alan Clarke in 1981. He wrote Made In Britain, which Clarke directed and featured the first screen role of Tim Roth. In 1986, Leland and director Neil Jordan co-wrote the screenplay for Mona Lisa, which starred Bob Hoskins.

Leland then wrote Personal Services, which was directed by Terry Jones and followed the true-life story of Cynthia Payne, who ran a private brothel.

Payne was also the subject of Leland's next film his directorial debut, Wish You Were Here, which chronicled her teenage years, starring Emily Lloyd.

While his next two films, Checking Out and The Big Man failed at the box office, he came soaring back by co-writing and directing The Land Girls starring Rachel Weisz and Anna Friel. A close friend of former Beatle George Harrison, he was involved with the memorial Concert For George, directed a documentary of the night.

In addition to his big screen work, Leland also directed episodes of shows such as Band Of Brothers and The Borgias.

After the death of his friend George Harrison, Leland was closely involved in the former Beatle's memorial, Concert for George, and directed a cinematic documentary of the night. And while he would be best known for his work behind the camera, he also appeared in front of it, in films such as When Saturday Comes, The Missionary and Gawain And The Green Knight.

Pierce Brosnan, who worked with Leland a few times, paid tribute: "David Leland holds a mighty place in my heart. He gave me my break as an actor in Tennessee Williams’ play The Red Devil Battery Sign. I was just out of Drama Center where David was also an alumni. It was the thrill of my young lifetime to be cast as McCabe, working with David and Tennessee. David will forever be an essential part of my story and of all who knew and loved him."

Leland is survived by his wife, Sabrina and four daughters, his son and his six grandchildren.

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