SIR DAVID LEAN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: David Lean                                                                           
Born: 25 March 1908 Croydon, Greater London, UK                                           
Died: 16 April 1991 London, England                                                       
Sir David Lean KBE (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was an English film                 
director and producer, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of           
Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India.               
Widely acclaimed and winning the praise of directors such as Steven Spielberg,             
Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick[citation needed], and George                             
Lucas, Lean was voted 9th greatest film director of all time in                           
the BFI "Directors Top Directors" poll 2002.                                               
He was born in Croydon, Greater London to Francis William le Blount Lean and the           
former Helena Tangye. His parents were Quakers and he was a pupil at the Quaker-founded   
Leighton Park School in Reading.                                                           
Lean started at the bottom, as a clapperboard assistant. By 1930 he was working           
as an editor on newsreels, including Gaumont Pictures and Movietone. His career           
in feature films began with Escape Me Never in 1935.                                       
He went on to edit Gabriel Pascal's film productions of two George Bernard Shaw           
plays, Pygmalion (1938) and Major Barbara (1941), and Powell & Pressburger's               
Forty-Ninth Parallel (1941) and One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942).                     
While Lean is now chiefly noted as a film director, for his last film, A Passage           
to India (1984), he chose to both direct and edit, and the two activities were             
given equal status in the film's credits. Lean was nominated for Academy                   
Awards in directing, editing, and writing for the film.                                   
His first work as a director was in partnership with Noel Coward on In Which We           
Serve (1942), and he went on to adapt several of Coward's plays into successful           
films. These included This Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945) and Brief             
Encounter (1945). These were followed by two celebrated Charles Dickens                   
adaptations - Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), as well as The           
Sound Barrier (1952) a collaboration with the playwright Terence Rattigan, and             
what many consider the definitive version of Hobson's Choice (1954), based on             
the play by Harold Brighouse.                                                             
Summertime (1955), marked a new direction in for Lean. Filmed in colour, it was           
shot entirely on location in Venice. U.S.-financed, the film starred Katharine             
Hepburn as a middle-aged American woman who has a romance while on holiday in             
In the following years, Lean went on to make the blockbusters for which he is             
best known: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Academy               
Award, followed by another for Lawrence of Arabia, (1962). Doctor Zhivago (1965)           
was another major hit. In addition, Lean directed some scenes of The Greatest             
Story Ever Told (1965) while George Stevens was doing location work in Nevada.             
Most of his scenes involved Claude Rains and Jose Ferrer, both of whom had                 
previously worked with Lean on Lawrence of Arabia. Following the moderately               
successful Ryan's Daughter in 1970, he did not direct another film until A                 
Passage to India (1984), which would be his last. He was knighted in 1984.                 
He was in the midst of planning an epic production of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo             
when he died from cancer, aged 83. Marlon Brando, Paul Scofield, Anthony Quinn,           
Christopher Lambert, Isabella Rossellini, and Dennis Quaid were among the                 
ensemble cast set to star in the film.                                                     
Nostromo would eventually be made as a BBC mini-series. Among other films he               
attempted to make, but was forced to abandon or pass on to others, are The Wind           
Cannot Read (1958), The Bounty (1984), Out of Africa (1985), and Empire of the             
Sun (1987).