British film director Michael Winner has died.
The 77-year-old filmmaker-and-newspaper columnist was best known for making violent and simple movies including Scorpio and Death Wish. He had been ill for some time and in 2007 he almost died after contracting a bacterial infection while on holiday in Barbados. Last summer, he revealed that liver specialists had given him 18 months to live.
Michael’s wife Geraldine, who had been nursing him at their London home, confirmed he had passed away on Monday.
"Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous,” she said in a statement. "A light has gone out in my life."
During his career, Michael made more than 30 movies including the violent blockbuster series Death Wish starring Charles Bronson.
His Hollywood career spans more than 50 years, and he worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Oliver Reed, Michael Caine, Sir Roger Moore, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway.
Michael later became a restaurant critic, and was renowned for his flamboyant and often thorny articles for UK newspaper The Sunday Times.
Michael was born to a wealthy family in north London and began his career as a journalist and film critic before joining Motion Pictures Limited as a writer and editor in 1956. He made his debut as a writer-director on the 1960 crime thriller Shoot to Kill.
In recent years, he featured in a series of adverts for an insurance company where he delivered the catchphrase, ‘Calm down, dear!’
Michael was reportedly offered an OBE in 2006 but turned it down.
"An OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at Kings Cross station," he said.