Lewis Gilbert, the British director of Alfie, Educating Rita and three James Bond films, has died at the age of 97, the BBC can confirm.
Born in London in 1920, he became a child actor before directing war films including Carve Her Name with Pride.
He made his Bond debut with 1967’s You Only Live Twice, going on to direct The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.
Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said he would be “sorely missed”.
In a written statement they said: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert.
“Lewis was a true gentleman. He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films.
“His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series. He will be sorely missed.”
Comedian David Walliams was among those to pay tribute on Twitter to the film-maker “for all the joy you brought me & millions of others”.
Gilbert was Oscar nominated in 1967 for directing Alfie, the film that made Sir Michael Caine a global star.
He was made a CBE in 1997 and received a fellowship from the British Film Institute in 2001.
Gilbert’s other films include Shirley Valentine, which was based, like Educating Rita before it, on a play by Willy Russell.
One of his first directing credits was on The Ten Year Plan, a 1945 documentary about the post-war need for prefabricated housing.
His last film, 2002’s Before You Go, saw him reunite with Dame Julie Walters, who was nominated for an Oscar for Educating Rita.
Gilbert’s autobiography, All My Flashbacks, was published in 2010.
According to James Bond fan site From Sweden With Love, the director died on 23 February and will be buried in Monaco, where he lately resided, this week.
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