Lewis Gilbert, director of three Bond films, dies aged 97

Gilbert made his Bond debut with 1967's You Only Live Twice.

James Bond director Lewis Gilbert has died aged 97.

The British filmmaker, who directed three 007 films including The Spy Who Loved Me, will be “sorely missed”, Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said.

Born in London in 1920, he also directed Educating Rita and Alfie – the film which made Michael Caine a star and earned Gilbert an Oscar nomination.

Wilson and Broccoli said: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert.

“Lewis was a true gentleman. He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films, directing You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

“His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series.”

Gilbert made his Bond debut with 1967’s You Only Live Twice starring Sean Connery, before going on to oversee The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), both starring Roger Moore.

His final film, 2002’s Before You Go, saw him team up again with Educating Rita star Julie Walters.

His earlier films included the Second World War classics Reach For The Sky, about real-life fighter pilot Douglas Bader who flew having lost both legs before the war, and Sink The Bismarck!

Gilbert was awarded a BFI fellowship in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to British film.

Among those paying tribute on Twitter were comedian David Walliams who thanked Gilbert “for or all the joy you brought me & millions of others”.

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