Michael Apted, the popular British documentary filmmaker behind the decades-long « Seven Up » film series and a number of acclaimed feature films, has passed away. The filmmaker was 79 years old. The news of his death was confirmed by Roy Ashton of the Gersh Agency, although the cause of death was unknown.
Apted’s last entry in his documentary series interviewing a group of British citizens from childhood to old age was 2019 « 63 Up ». He was also known as the director of such films as « The World Is Not Enough », « Nell », « Gorillas in the Fog », « Thunder Heart », « Riddle », « Enough » and his directorial debut « The Triple Echo ». with Glenda Jackson and Oliver Reed. His « Seven Up » series began in 1964 with a total of nine submissions over the decades. Apted also made music documentaries that focused on the likes of The Rolling Stones and David Bowie.
« Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the death of the esteemed director, longtime DGA leader and my friend Michael Apted. His legacy will forever be tied into the fabric of cinema and our guild, ”said Thomas Schlamme, president of the Directors Guild of America. Apted previously held three terms as DGA President from 2003 to 2009. “A fearless visionary director and unparalleled guild leader, Michael saw how things went when others did not, and we were all beneficiaries of his wisdom and lifelong commitment. ”
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Earlier DGA heads also paid tribute to Apted in written statements. Steven Soderbergh said, “I spent countless hours literally two feet from Michael and loved every minute of it. Aside from his own remarkable work, there is no measurement of what he has given the DGA. He put all of his BEING into the guild and inspired us all to follow his example. We were lucky to have him and to know him. «
Taylor Hackford said, » Michael Apted was the definition of ‘human’ – like the wonderful director he could count on, he could always be counted on to have a clear and well-thought-out point of view that usually soured with a dash of dry joke. He was my trusted colleague at the DGA for over 30 years, and I got to follow him as President of our great organization – his shoes were huge to fill. I will miss him very much. «
Paris Barclay also said: » Michael had a deep and profound influence on the guild and me. His shrewdness in negotiating, how he stimulated the guild’s inclusion efforts, and how he led the guild with rapier wit and elegance inspired me and so many others to join the leadership. He was my teacher, my mentor, my advisor and my friend. We owe him so much – if we lose him there will be a hole in the heart of the guild. «
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