British director Lewis Gilbert, director of three classic James Bond movies, has died at the age of 97. Gilbert got his start as a child actor in 1933 in Dick Turpin and eventually made himself into an accomplished director. During the course of his long career, Gilbert amassed more than 40 credits. Gilbert was remembered by the official James Bond Twitter account following the news of his death.
"British director, producer and screenwriter Lewis Gilbert has passed away at the age of 97. Gilbert directed three Bond films; You Only Live Twice (1967), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."
Lewis Gilbert had been working as a director for more than two decades before tackling his first movie in the James Bond franchise, which came in the form of 1967's You Only Live Twice. The movie is significant, as it was the last of Sean Connery's initial tenure as 007, prior to George Lazenby coming in for just one movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Gilbert initially turned down the job, but franchise producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli managed to convince him to helm the movie.
Lewis Gilbert also helmed two Roger Moore Bond movies, including 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, which is generally considered to be one of Moore's best contributions to the franchise. His last movie in the legendary spy franchise came in the form of Moonraker, which is famously considered to be a low-point for the series, but one that has many fans. Moonraker served as a response to the popularity of Star Wars, which was released two years prior. Baby Driver director Edgar Wright took to Twitter to honor the late director. Here's what he had to say.
"RIP Lewis Gilbert, the great British director who, among his 40 plus credits, directed 'Alfie', 'Educating Rita', 'Reach For The Sky', 'Shirley Valentine' and one of my very favourite Bond films: 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. 'Why'd you have to be so good?'"
Outside of the James Bond franchise, Lewis Gilbert directed other notable movies such as Educating Rita and The Adventurers, in addition to a number or war novel adaptations. He also directed the 1966 classic Alfie, which stars Michael Caine and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed also took to Twitter to honor the director, revealing that he's actually included a Moonraker homage in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp.
"Lewis Gilbert, director of You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, has passed away. SPY was the first Bond film I saw in the theater. (And I have a tiny homage to Moonraker in Ant-Man and the Wasp.) Rest in Peace."
The director's last movie was 2002's Before We Go, which stars Julie Walters. You can check out a number of social media tributes to the late filmmaker below. RIP Lewis Gilbert. The news of Lewis' passing comes to us courtesy of Deadline.
British director, producer and screenwriter Lewis Gilbert has passed away at the age of 97. Gilbert directed three Bond films; YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) and MOONRAKER (1979). Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/FtfipGrx58— James Bond (@007) February 27, 2018
RIP Lewis Gilbert, the great British director who, among his 40 plus credits, directed 'Alfie', 'Educating Rita', 'Reach For The Sky', 'Shirley Valentine' and one of my very favourite Bond films: 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. "Why'd you have to be so good?" pic.twitter.com/cXSItZh6uQ— edgarwright (@edgarwright) February 27, 2018
Thank you #LewisGilbert for all the joy you brought me & millions of others with your 3 classic Bond @007 movies ‘You Only Live Twice’, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ & ‘Moonraker’ & so many other classic films... ‘Reach for the Sky’, ‘Alfie’ & ‘Educating Rita’. https://t.co/6y4DPJJNO8— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) February 27, 2018
Lewis Gilbert, director of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and MOONRAKER, has passed away. SPY was the first Bond film I saw in the theater. (And I have a tiny homage to MOONRAKER in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP.) Rest in Peace.— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) February 27, 2018
Rest in peace, Lewis Gilbert - Sir Roger Moore's favourite 007 director and the one that made Bond big, took him to the stars and turned production designer Ken Adam into James Bond's grandest co-star. #LewisGilbert#TheSpyWhoLovedMe#YouOnlyLiveTwice#Moonraker#RIPLewisGilbertpic.twitter.com/qrB8OMHTAq— Mark O'Connell (@Mark0Connell) February 27, 2018
Hearing that Lewis Gilbert - director of You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker - has died. Rest in peace you mad genius pic.twitter.com/VNlgPsM7mp— Neil Alcock (@IncredibleSuit) February 27, 2018
The great Lewis Gilbert has died, age 97. 17 years ago I went on the set of his last picture. He kept his actors - Joanne Whalley Kilmer & John Hannah, on their toes. pic.twitter.com/ydx2Wa4TYx— Matthew Sweet (@DrMatthewSweet) February 27, 2018