007 director Michael Apted dies at 79

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

007 director Michael Apted

Michael Apted, director of such films as Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough has died at the age of 79. The Gersh Agency confirmed the news just moments ago but did not release a cause of death.

Apted had a bit of a magic touch when it came to directing actors in performances that led to Oscar nominations. Sissy Spacek was nominated for Coal Miner's Daughter, Sigourney Weaver received a nomination for Gorillas in the Mist and Jodie Foster got a nod for the 1994 film Nell. Out of this trio, Spacek ultimately went on to win an Oscar for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.

Michael David Apted was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire on February 10, 1941. Apted earned a scholarship to study law and history at Downing College but his career soon turned to entertainment. He began his career in television as a researcher-trainee at Granada Television in Manchester and one of his first projects there led to what would become the Up series, which began in 1964 as a profile of 14 7-year old children for the network's current affairs series World in Action. The 7 Up documentaries that chronicled 14 British children every seven years from ages 7-63, gained him international fame. He took over the series with 1970’s 7 Plus Seven and helmed all of its subsequent iterations. 28 Up and 35 Up won the director two BAFTA Awards and the next two installments earned nominations from the group. Apted also received multiple DGA nominations throughout his accomplished career.

Coal Miner's Daughter, a biopic about Loretta Lynn, brought Apted to the attention of mainstream Hollywood and moviegoers. In addition to Spacek's win for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Picture, among other categories. The movie also proved to be a commercial success, grossing $67 million at the domestic box office in 1980.

Gorillas in the Mist brought Apted back to the Oscars once again. The 1988 film was the true story of Dian Fossey, who studied mountain gorillas and defended them from poachers in one of Africa's remotest corners for 18 years before her life was cut down by tragedy. The movie went on to receive five Oscar nominations, including Best Actress for Weaver. Gorillas in the Mist proved to be an adequate worldwide performer as well, grossing $61 million at the global box office.

In 1994, Jodie Foster became the third actress to work with Apted that received an Oscar nomination. Foster earned her nomination for Nell, a film about a woman (Foster) who has lived in a primitive wilderness all her life. The film received mixed reviews at the time of its release but critics praised Apted's direction and Foster's performance. Nell proved to be another solid worldwide performer, grossing $106 million at the global box office on a $24.5 million budget.

Apted took on a mainstream studio effort when he was hired to direct the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. The film was Pierce Brosnan's third turn as 007 and while it's not considered one of the top Bond films, it's remembered for some spectacular action sequences, with one being a boat chase on the Thames River, and for the polarizing casting of Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist. Despite any criticisms, the film still earned $361.8 million worldwide on a budget of $135 million. Apted flexed his skills with another tentpole release in 2010 by directing The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The film went on to be the highest-grossing film of his career, grossing $415 million at the global box office

Apted is survived by his third wife Paige Simpson, whom he married in 2014, his son Jim Apted, his son John and his daughter Lilly Mellis. Our condolences go out to Apted's family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. He definitely left behind a filmography that is worthy of attention for years to come.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

3191 Articles Published