“Notting Hill” director Roger Michell dies at 65
LONDON (AP) – Roger Michell, the British theater, television and film director whose films include the indelible romantic comedy ‘Notting Hill’, has died, his family announced Thursday. He was 65 years old.
Michell’s family said in a statement he died on Wednesday. They did not disclose the location or cause of death.
“It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, screenwriter and father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announces his death at the age of 65 on September 22,” said the statement released by the Michell’s press secretary.
Born in South Africa, where his father served as a British diplomat, Michell began his career as a director in British theaters including the Royal Court, the National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He directed acclaimed television series in the 1990s, including adaptations of Hanif Kureishi’s novel “The Buddha of the Suburbs” and “Persuasion” by Jane Austen.
On the big screen, his biggest commercial success was “Notting Hill”, the comedy written by Richard Curtis about an awkward romance between a movie star played by Julia Roberts and a London bookseller, played by Hugh Grant.
After its release in 1999, it was for a time the highest grossing British film in history, and Michell followed it with the Hollywood thriller “Changing Lanes”, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson.
He was courted to direct a James Bond film – the one that became “Quantum of Solace” – but turned it down because, he later said, the film “had it all, but no script” .
He has largely directed films in Britain, often shooting superb performances from actors. They include the 2003 release “The Mother”, starring Anne Reid and Daniel Craig; the following year “Enduring Love”, based on a novel by Ian McEwan and again starring Craig; and “Venus,” which earned Peter O’Toole an Oscar nomination in 2007.
Subsequent films included “Hyde Park on Hudson,” a 2012 historical drama starring Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Daphné du Maurier adaptation “My Cousin Rachel”, with Rachel Weisz, released in 2017; and “The Duke,” an actual art flight story starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren which premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.
At the time of his death, he was working on a documentary on Queen Elizabeth II.
Michell has been married twice: to actress Kate Buffery, and after their divorce to actress Anna Maxwell Martin, from whom he was separated. He is survived by his two wives and four children, two from each relationship.
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