Richard Attenborough was born at Cambridge on 29 August 1923, the son of a teacher, Frederick Levi Attenborough and his wife, the writer Mary Attenborough. His brother Sir David Attenborough (b. 1927) is the well-known writer, television executive, and maker and presenter of television documentaries on wildlife and evolution. Richard attended Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1941), then moved to film acting and film making. His fine film performances include a Seaman in “In Which We Serve” (1942), Pinkie in “Brighton Rock” (1947), the Leader of “The Great Escape” (1963), the Murderer in “10 Rillington Place” (1971) and the Ringmaster in “Jurassic Park” (1993). He received the Best Actor Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 1964 for his performance in “Seance on a Wet Afternoon” and Golden Globe Awards as best supporting actor in “The Sand Pebbles” (1966) and “Dr Doolittle” (1967). Attenborough made his film directing debut with “Oh! What a Lovely War” (1969), followed by such films as “A Bridge Too Far” (1977), “Young Winston” (1972) and the multi-award winning “Ghandi” (1982). Other excellent films include “Magic” (1978), “A Chorus Line” (1985), “Cry Freedom” (1987), “Chaplin” (1992) and “Shadowlands” (1993).
Attenborough was honoured with a CBE in 1967 and was knighted in 1976. He became a member of the Garrick Club in 1950. Lord Attenborough serves as president or board member on numerous arts and charitable organizations in Britain. In January 1945 he married Sheila Sim (b. 1922), former actress and magistrate. They had been at RADA together and appeared in the original West End production of “The Mousetrap” in 1952. They have two daughters, Jane and Charlotte, and a son Michael, who is an executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a member of the Garrick Club.