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Monday 23 October 2017

Stars remember movie legend Richard Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough speaks at Westminster Abbey in London during the memorial service for his brother, Lord Richard Attenborough, who died last year
Sir David Attenborough speaks at Westminster Abbey in London during the memorial service for his brother, Lord Richard Attenborough, who died last year
Jane Seymour
Actor and director Kenneth Branagh leaves a memorial service for actor and director Richard Attenborough at Westminster Abbey in London March 17, 2015

The life of the "truly great" Oscar-winning film director Richard Attenborough has been celebrated by a host of A-list stars.

Film veteran Lord Attenborough, who dominated the British movie business for more than half a century, died last August at the age of 90.

The service of thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey, central London, had a dazzling congregation including his brother, TV wildlife presenter David Attenborough, actors Michael Caine, John Hurt, Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench.

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Jane Seymour

The ceremony, which lasted just under an hour, featured David Attenborough reading from his brother's 1994 Lords maiden speech, which included the words "the arts are not a luxury" but "are for everyone", David added: "My brother lived by his words."

As the service opened, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, said: "We come to celebrate the life and achievement of Richard Attenborough, a truly great man: certainly a star of stage and screen, but also a pioneer film-maker, an exemplary leader of his profession, a man of deep commitment, of great generosity of spirit, and of personal warmth.

"We shall also pray that his story might continue to inspire and inform others to follow his example, that our world might become a little brighter and better," he added.

Ben Kingsley read from the writings of Gandhi, while fellow actor Tom Hiddleston also did a reading. After the ceremony, Michael Caine said: "It was brilliant. So beautiful."

Other people at the service included footballer Gianfranco Zola who played for Lord Attenborough's much-loved Chelsea.

Twiggy was also there and was joined in the atmospheric abbey by others including Katherine Kelly, Peter Bowles, Edward Fox, Jane Seymour, Simon Callow, Patricia Hodge, Sue Barker and Melvyn Bragg.

Born in Cambridge in 1923, Richard Attenborough enjoyed success as one of Britain's leading actors before becoming a celebrated director and prolific movie-maker.

His career highlights included appearing in 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park and clinching eight Oscars for Gandhi in 1982, including best film and best director.

hnews@herald.ie

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