British director Lewis Gilbert has died aged 97, it has been confirmed.
The filmmaker was best known for directing The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore (1977) – along with You Only Live Twice (1967) and Moonraker (1979). Gilbert also directed Michael Caine’s Alfie in 1966.
James Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli confirmed Gilbert’s death in a joint statement.
“It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert,” it reads. “Lewis was a true gentleman. He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films, directing You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series. He will be sorely missed.”
Gilbert’s son John told the BBC that his father had “died peacefully in his sleep”.
Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright and comedian David Walliams were among those paying tribute to Gilbert on Twitter.
RIP Lewis Gilbert, the great British director who, among his 40 plus credits, directed 'Alfie', 'Educating Rita', 'Reach For The Sky', 'Shirley Valentine' and one of my very favourite Bond films: 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. "Why'd you have to be so good?" pic.twitter.com/cXSItZh6uQ
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) February 27, 2018
I met #LewisGilbert in a restaurant in London. He was having lunch with Sir Roger Moore. I told Lewis how much I loved the Bond films he had directed & he asked me ‘how did you like my friend Jaws?’ as if I was 10 years old even though I was 40! I loved feeling 10 again though.
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) February 27, 2018
British director, producer and screenwriter Lewis Gilbert has passed away at the age of 97. Gilbert directed three Bond films; YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) and MOONRAKER (1979). Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/FtfipGrx58
— James Bond (@007) February 27, 2018
Lewis Gilbert (right) was one of Sir Roger’s favourite directors. The industry and Bond world will miss him although his legacy lives on forever. RIP Lewis. pic.twitter.com/4VHdksS4l0
— Sir Roger Moore (Legacy) (@sirrogermoore) February 27, 2018
Born in Hackney in 1920, Gilbert went on to become a child actor, before making his mark behind the camera and in the director’s chair.