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Lewis Gilbert CBE (1920 – 2018)

The film director, producer and writer, Lewis Gilbert, was born in London into a music-hall family, and he appeared in several productions as a child actor.

During World War II, Lewis was attached to a film unit and made documentaries. After the War, he began work in the film industry proper, writing his own scripts and directing a string of popular successes, Lewis directed Reach for the Sky (1956) and Sink the Bismarck! (1960), both starring Kenneth More; Carve Her Name with Pride (1958) starring Virginia McKenna; and Alfie (1966) starring Michael Caine.

He directed three of the biggest (in terms of the size of their Ken Adam-designed sets, as well as box-office) James Bond films, You Only Live Twice (1967), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).

He also made two hit films based on Willy Russell plays, Educating Rita (1983) and Shirley Valentine (1989), which gave career-break leading roles to Julie Walters and Pauline Collins respectively.

After a long career which left an indelible mark on British cinema, Lewis passed away in Monaco aged 97.