British director Michael Upted has died at the age of 79.
The film’s creator and documentary filmmaker is known for films such as Gorillas in the Daughter of Fog and Coal, as well as for his long series of documentaries, Up.
His death was confirmed by his agency to the Hollywood Reporter. No further details are known yet.
“The series was an attempt to take a long look at English society,” Apted said in an interview last year. The class system needed a backlash.
In the promotion for the latest installment, Apted expressed a desire to continue in another seven years, saying that it will continue as long as “it can breathe and talk.”
In the 1970s, Apted debuted on the big screen, directing World War II drama The Triple Echo, starring Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson. But he saw his first major film success in 1980 with the daughter of a miner, introduced in Loretta Lynn’s biographical film starring Sisi Space. She was nominated for seven Oscars, winning one for Speke as Best Actress.
Apted went on to direct Sigourney Weaver in Gorilla in the Mist, a film that also won five Oscar nominations; Nell, who won an Oscar nomination for Jody Foster; Kate Winslet’s drama The Enigma; Jennifer Lopez’s thriller Enough and recently the action movie Unlocked starring Noomi Rapas.
“What I like about women in the center of the movies is that I find that a character brings a lot of emotion into a story, whatever the story,” he said in a 2017 interview. “Whether it’s a woman with a gorilla or country music singer, a woman’s emotional life – at least on the surface – is more dramatic than a man’s.
He also directed the James Bond adventure The World Is Not Enough and the fantastic sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Journey of Dawn.
Apted is remembered by his peers on Twitter, including Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids.
“It’s so very sad to hear about Michael Apted’s death,” Feig wrote. “He was always so kind to me and I was such a big fan of his work.”
Gail Ann Hurd, producer of Aliens and the Terminator, tweeted: “Another legendary director is gone … a brilliant documentary filmmaker and a wonderful colleague. Do yourself a favor and see his great filmography. “
Apted is survived by his wife Paige Simpson, sons Jim and John and daughter Lily Melissa.