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James Bond director Lewis Gilbert dies aged 97
Lewis Gilbert was the man behind a trio of Bond classics

Director Lewis Gilbert – who made three James Bond movies including The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker – has died aged 97.

News of his passing, at his home in Monaco, was confirmed by Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli in a written statement.

They said: ‘It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert.

‘Lewis was 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. He will be sorely missed.’

David Walliams was also among those paying tribute to him as news of his death broke.

Thank you #LewisGilbert for all the joy you brought me & millions of others with your 3 classic Bond @007 movies ‘You Only Live Twice’, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ & ‘Moonraker’ & so many other classic films… ‘Reach for the Sky’, ‘Alfie’ & ‘Educating Rita’. https://t.co/6y4DPJJNO8

— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) February 27, 2018

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Gilbert, who was born in 1920, was originally a child actor before making the move into directing in the 40s and 50s – and landing himself an Oscar nomination for helming the Michael Caine classic Alfie in 1966.

He made his Bond debut the following year with You Only Live Twice, before returning to the franchise for 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker in 1979.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Danjaq/EON/UA/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5886277ar) Sean Connery You Only Live Twice - 1967 Director: Lewis Gilbert Danjaq/EON/UA BRITAIN Lobby Card/Poster James Bond Action/Adventure On ne vit que deux fois
You Only Live Twice kicked off Gilbert’s involvement with the Bond franchise (Picture: Rex Shutterstock)

Later in his career Gilbert went on to direct British hits including the big screen adaptation of Willy Russell plays Educating Rita – which scored stars Julie Walters and Sir Michael Caine Oscar nominations in 1983 – and Shirley Valentine, as well as 1991’s Stepping Out.

His final film, Before You Go – which reunited him with Julie Walters – was released in 2002.

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