Michael Winner dies aged 77

Film director and critic passes away at home in London

Photo: PA
Film director, restaurant critic, raconteur and former NME writer Michael Winner has passed away, aged 77.

The news of Winner's death was confirmed by his widow, Geraldine, earlier today (January 21). Mrs Winner issued a statement with the news, in which she pays tribute to her late husband. She says: "Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous. A light has gone out in my life."

Winner's career took him down many paths, including a latter day stint as a TV star via a long-running series of advertisements for insurance company Esure, which launched his famous catchphrase, "Calm down dear". As a younger man he was a writer for NME, submitting film reviews from the mid '50s to the early '60s.

However, it is as a film director that Winner is best known. His directing credits include Hannibal Brooks, Lawman, Scorpio, The Mechanic and the Death Wish series.

The director was also a much feared restaurant critic, famed for his barbed insult toward many establishments in his Sunday Times column, 'Winner's Dinners'.

Recent years have, however, seen Winner battling illness. He contracted a bacterial infection in 2007 after eating oysters in Barbados. Winner subsequently caught MRSE while in hospital and in 2012 revealed to The Times that doctors has informed him he had "18 months to two years" to live.

Michael Winner died at home in Kensington, London. The cause of death has not yet been revealed.

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