‘Notting Hill’, ‘The Duke’ director Roger Michell dies at 65

LONDON – Roger Michell, the British stage, television and film director whose films include the infamously popular Romcom “Notting Hill”, has died, his family said on Thursday. He was 65.

Michell’s family said in a statement that he died on Wednesday. They did not disclose the location or cause of death.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, Director, Writer and Father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announced his death at the age of 65 on September 22,” said the statement from Michell Publicist.

Born in South Africa, where his father was posted as a British diplomat, Michell began his direct career with British theaters, including the Royal Court, the National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He made well-known television series in the 1990s, including adaptations of Hanif Kureishi’s novel “The Buddha of Suburbia” and Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”.

On the big screen was his biggest commercial hit “Notting Hill”, the Richard Curtis-written comedy about a troubled romance between a movie star played by Julia Roberts and a London bookstore, played by Hugh Grant.

Following its release in 1999, it was for a time the highest grossing film in history, and Michell followed it up with the Hollywood thriller “Changing Lanes”, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson.

He was put on trial for directing a James Bond film – which became “Quantum of Solace” – but he refused because, he later said, the film “had everything but no script.”

He has mostly made films in the UK, often drawings by actors. They included in 2003 the release of “The Mother”, starring Anne Reid and Daniel Craig; next year’s Enduring Love, based on an Ian McEwan novel and again with Craig; and “Venus,” which earned Peter O’Toole an Academy Award nomination in 2007.

Later films include “Hyde Park on Hudson,” a 2012 historical drama starring Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Daphne du Maurier’s adaptation “My Cousin Rachel,” starring Rachel Weisz, released in 2017; and “The Duke,” a real-life Art Heist story starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren at the Venice Film Festival 2020 premiere.

At the time of his death, he was working on a documentary about Queen Elizabeth II.

Michell was twice married: to actress Kate Buffery, and after their divorce to actress Anna Maxwell Martin, from whom he was separated. He is survived by both women and his four children, two from each relationship.

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