James Bond Director Lewis Gilbert Dies at 97

British filmmaker Lewis Gilbert and popular James Bond director has died at the age of 97.

In a statement on Tuesday producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert,” describing the director as “a true gentleman”.

“He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films… His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series,” they added.

Born in east London in 1920, Gilbert’s first directing credit came in 1945 with “The 10 Year Plan”, a documentary about postwar housing.

While most well-known for his work on the spy series, Gilbert also directed a young Michael Caine in the 1966 movie “Alfie” which gained four Oscar nominations.

He made his Bond debut with 1967’s You Only Live Twice, going on to direct The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

After a lengthy career including production and writing roles, his last of 33 directing credits came in 2002 with “Before You Go”.

“The BFI salutes the most prolific of British filmmakers,” said Heather Stewart, creative director of the British Film Institute which had awarded Gilbert a fellowship for outstanding contribution to British film.

His last film, 2002’s Before You Go, saw him reunite with Dame Julie Walters, who was nominated for an Oscar for Educating Rita.

Gilbert’s autobiography, All My Flashbacks, was published in 2010.

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