Obituary: Director Michael Apted Dies Aged 79

Director Michael Apted has passed away at the age of 79. 

Apted was a director with a remarkably varied career, who first came to prominence for directing the Up documentary series which started in 1964. The series followed 14 children from different walks of life from the age of 7 onwards. Every seven years a new instalment caught up with them, right-up until 2019’s 63 Up.  He helmed episodes of Coronation Street before segueing into feature films in 1972 with Triple Echo starring Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson. 

Apted turned his hand to multiple genres over the course of his career, from thrillers (Agatha, Gorky Park, Thunderheart, Blink), dramas (The Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas In The Mist, Nell) and comedy (Continental Divide, Critical Condition).  He also made the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough starring Pierce Brosnan. Apted also directed quite a bit of TV in recent years, including Rome, Ray Donvan and Bloodline. His last feature was 2017’s Unlocked

1981’s Continental Divide saw Apted direct John Belushi and Blair Brown. The film a based on a Lawrence Kasdan script and it was the first film from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Productions. 

Apted took over directing the 2012 surfing drama, Chasing Mavericks after Curtis Hanson needed heart surgery. The pair shared a co-directing credit. 

Never a ‘name director’ in a tradition sense, Michael Apted had the respect of his peers in the industry and critics. He was elected president of the Directors’ Guild Of America in 2002. 

Michael Apted 1941 – 2021

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