Born: 25 March 1908
Died: 16 April 1991
Birthplace: Croydon, England
Best known as: The director of Lawrence of Arabia
Sir David Lean was an English film director known especially for the Oscar-adorned spectacles The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Dr. Zhivago (1965). Lean worked his way up in the British movie industry from an entry-level position in the 1920s to editor jobs in the mid-1930s. By 1942 he was a director, collaborating with Noel Coward on four films in the '40s, including In Which We Serve (1942) and Brief Encounter (1945). He made nine films in his first decade as a director, including successful adaptations of the Charles Dickens novels Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948). After the mid-1950s he became known as the master of the grand epic and made only seven more films. Box office hits and Oscar favorites, his films made stars of Alec Guiness (Kwai), Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia) and Omar Sharif (Zhivago), and Lean became the most celebrated English director in the movie business. Known for dictatorial methods on the set, Lean was a famously meticulous planner and was considered a master craftsman, even by critics who were less than enthusiastic about his body of work. Some of his other films are: Blithe Spirit (1945, starring Rex Harrison); Hobson's Choice (1954); Summer Madness (1955, starring Katharine Hepburn); Ryan's Daughter (1970, starring Robert Mitchum); A Passage to India (1984, the same year he was knighted).
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