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Michael Robert Winner (1935 -- 2013)


Director and Producer Michael Winner has died 21 January 2013 at his Kensington home.

As the only child of Jewish parents Helen and Joseph Winner, the outspoken filmmaker was born in Hampstead London, UK on 30 October 1935.  He studied law and economics whilst writing showbiz reviews and interviews for his university newspaper, the Kensington Post and the New Musical Express before enjoying some success at the BBC working on Man with a Gun (1958), Floating Fortress (1959) and Shoot to Kill (1960).   A succession of British film releases including several projects with Oliver Reed lead to his most notable paring with Charles Bronson in 1974’s vigilante film Death Wish. Despite working with many well known names on both sides of the Atlantic (Burt Lancaster, Frankie Howard, Denham Elliot, Michael Crawford, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando), his career went through high and lows until the box office success of the first of the Death Wish films.  The later films did not reach the same levels of success and later works were largely considered box office failures.  He continued to work with A-listers (Anthony Hopkins, Faye Dunaway, Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Robert Mitchum) before finding a new avenue as restaurant critic for The Sunday Times.  It was ‘Winner’s Dinners’ and the Esure insurance TV commercials that kept him in public view more recently.  But he will also be remember for his charity work establishing The Police Memorial Trust following the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984.

Winner was diagnosed with liver disease in 2012.  He leaves his partner of over 50 years Geraldine whom he married in 2011.