Michael Winner | Film director, 77

Michael Winner
Michael Winner
Posted: January 23, 2013

Michael Winner, 77, a British filmmaker, restaurant critic, and bon vivant, died Monday at his London home after an illness, according to his wife, Geraldine.

Mr. Winner's 30 movies included three Death Wish films starring Charles Bronson.

Born in London in 1935, Mr. Winner worked with Hollywood icons including Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, and Faye Dunaway - although many of his films sit at the schlockier end of the spectrum.

One of his earliest films was the 1962 nudist feature Some Like It Cool; later he specialized in thrillers and action movies, including The Mechanic, Scorpio, and the violent vigilante Death Wish series.

Mr. Winner never took criticism too seriously. "If you want art, don't mess about with movies," he once said. "Buy a Picasso."

He had a second career as a restaurant critic with the "Winners Dinners" column in the Sunday Times newspaper. His acerbic verdicts got him barred from some eateries, and his highest praise was to declare a meal "historic."

He also founded and helped fund a campaign to erect a London memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty.

Mr. Winner had experienced health problems since getting a bacterial infection from bad oysters in 2007. He wrote his final column in December. "Who knows, after Christmas I might make a comeback," he wrote. "How many times did Sinatra do it?" - AP

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