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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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John Schlesinger
The Guardian; July 26th 2003

Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger dies aged 77

Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
Saturday July 26, 2003
The Guardian

The film director John Schlesinger died peacefully yesterday morning near his home in Palm Springs, California at the age of 77. His life support machine had been turned off on Thursday after he suffered breathing difficulties resulting from a stroke in 2001.

The Oscar-winning director of Midnight Cowboy, Darling, A Kind of Loving, Sunday, Bloody Sunday and Billy Liar was with his partner of 37 years, photographer Michael Childers, at the Desert Region medical centre. His ashes will be brought back to England for burial.

Julie Christie, who appeared in three of his films, described him as a "lovely, funny, generous, mischievous man" who took film to places it had never been before.

"Everyone who worked with John loved him," she said. "His contribution to cinema and particularly British cinema is enormous and his work will live on in the shape of his wonderful films.

Brenda Vaccaro, who appeared in Midnight Cowboy and remained one of his closest friends, said: "He was a friend like no other friend. His humour is what I will remember most about him.

"He had a kind and compassionate heart and he was one of the greatest of hosts."

Schlesinger had been unable to work since his serious stroke at the end of 2001 and he had had difficulty in speaking. He had been working hard up until that time and was looking forward to producing films and passing on his experience to young film-makers.

With Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz, Schlesinger, the son of a paediatrician, was part of the British new wave that transformed film in the 1960s. A Kind of Loving was his first feature film in 1962. He won many prizes for the 1965 film Darling and best director and best film Oscars for his 1969 hit Midnight Cowboy.

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