by Helen Earnshaw |
Michael Winner was an outspoken and larger than life character who enjoyed a very varied and successful career.
Born in October 1935 Winner was educated at Cambridge university where he studied economics - but this was not to be his career path.
Film was to be his passion in life and he kicked off his career as an assistant director at the BBC.
This Is Belgium was his first project that he directed and a year later he picked up his first credit as a writer for film Man with a Gun.
He continued to work on short project throughout the fifties until he made his feature film directorial debut in 1960 with Shoot To Kill.
He them moved into feature films full time after Shoot To Kill and went on to make movies such as Some Like It Cool and Out of the Shadow.
Some Like It Cool was quite a controversial project as it looked a naturism - from very early on in his career Winner showed that he was not afraid to ruffle a few feathers and make films that would raise a few eyebrows.
Throughout the sixties he worked in the British film industry with Old Mac and West 11 before Hannibal Brooks changed the direction of his career.
Winner had a hand in the script and served as producer on the film while Oliver Reed and Michael J. Pollard were on the cast list.
This was the movie that caught the attention of Hollywood and he got the chance to direct his first American movie in the form of Lawman.
Lawman saw Winner step into the Western for the first time as he teamed up with Burt Lancaster and Robert Duvall.
He continued to work with some big named actors as he directed Marlon Brando in The Nightcomers and Charles Bronson in The Mechanic and he really was enjoying some huge success.
But the movie that he will forever he remembered for is Death Wish, which was released back in 1974.
The crime thriller was loosely based on the novel of the same name by Brian Garfield and saw him reunite with Charles Bronson.
The film followed a New York City architect who becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark.
While the movie was a commercial success it was not a hit with the critics due to the levels of violence in the film - it was a movie that embraced the idea of vigilantism.
Death Wish was a great vehicle for actor Bronson who became better known in the States while is showed the Winner could also be an action filmmaker.
Winner went on to have a directing career that lasted until 1999 when he made his last movie Parting Shots.
Away from the director's chair Winner was also known as a restaurant critic for The Sunday Times and he went on to write a series of books.
Winner has had a long battle with liver disease and last year he was given eighteen months to live.
The seventy seven year old passed away on 21st January at his home in Kensington and is survived by his wife Geraldine Lynton-Edwards.