British filmmaker Michael Winner has passed away aged 77 at his home in Kensington, his wife has confirmed today. Born in Hampstead, London in 1935, Winner began his career as a showbiz columnist before securing his first writing credit in 1958, penning the script for Montgomery Tully’s Man with a Gun. Several writing and directing credits soon followed before helming his feature-length debut in 1962 with the nudist comedy Some Like It Cool. Several British features followed throughout the decade, including four of six contributions with Oliver Reed – The System (1964), The Jokers (1967), I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname (1967) and Hannibal Brooks (1969) – the latter of which attracted the attention of Hollywood.
In 1971, winner directed his first American feature Lawman, before embarking on a series of collaborations with Charles Bronson, including Chato’s Land (1972), The Mechanic (1972), The Stone Killer (1972) and what would ultimately be his best-known feature, 1974’s Death Wish. Following Death Wish, Winner branched out into a number of different genres but failed to replicate the success of the gritty revenge thriller and with his filmmaking reputation on the decline, he eventually agreed to direct the 1982 sequel Death Wish II, along with Death Wish 3 in 1985. Subsequent films failed to reignite his directing career, and in later years his focus shifted towards on screen appearances on TV shows and commercials as well as his weekly ‘Winner’s Dinners’ column in The Sunday Times.