Sir David Lean

Sir David Lean

Croydon, London Borough of Croydon, Greater London, England
Death 16 Apr 1991 (aged 83)
Limehouse, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
Burial Wimbledon, London Borough of Merton, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 6871582 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Motion Picture Director, Producer. Raised in a Quaker household where films and theatre were disapproved of; he was 16 before he saw his first film, but he was captivated. In 1927, he earned him a month's trial, without pay, as the tea boy at Gaumont Studios. Enthusiastic and ambitious, he moved on to become the clapper boy, camera assistant, third assistant director, and finally to editor. By the end of the 1930s he was one of the best paid film editors working in British film industry. His directorial debut came in 1942, with Noel Coward's wartime film "In Which We Serve.” He then founded the production company, Cineguild, which saw his first solo efforts as a director, “This Happy Breed” (1944), followed by two more Coward collaborations; “Blithe Spirit” (1945), and “Brief Encounter” (1945), which won the award for the best British film of year at the International Film Festival in Cannes. "Great Expectations" appeared in 1946, winning three Academy Awards, and "Oliver Twist" in 1948, two years after which his company folded. In 1952, "Breaking the Sound Barrier," won the British Film Academy's award for the year's best picture. On that success, he moved to establish himself in Hollywood with such now classic films as "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957), “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), which is often named his finest film, and “Dr Zhivago” (1965). “Ryan’s Daughter” in 1970, despite its box office success, was poorly very received by critics. He said that the negative press caused him to lose heart, and he did not direct another film for 14 years. In 1984, feeling he had something to prove, he took on an epic. “A Passage to India” which was written, edited, and directed by him, and would receive glowing reviews. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards with Lean nominated for three, one for each of the roles he filled. That year he was knighted in recognition of his contribution to the arts. He received the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1990. Hewent into pre-production for his next project, "Nostromo," writing the script and assembling a cast. Six weeks prior to filming, however, he succumbed to throat cancer. The film was never made. Over the course of his career he won two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, and a BAFTA among others; numbering 29 awards in all.

Bio by: Iola

Family Members




How famous was Sir David Lean?

Current rating:

118 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: David Conway
  • Added: 23 Oct 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6871582
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir David Lean (25 Mar 1908–16 Apr 1991), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6871582, citing Putney Vale Cemetery and Crematorium, Wimbledon, London Borough of Merton, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .