Death Wish director Michael Winner has died at the age of 77. According to BBC News, the filmmaker’s wife, Geraldine, said her husband passed away today at his home in Kensington, London. Winner had endured a run of ill heath since eating a bad oyster on holiday in Barbados in 2007, and last summer, liver specialists had given him 18 months to live.
In 2012, Winner told Britain’s Big Issue magazine, “When I die, it’s going to be ‘Death Wish director dies.’” Certainly, the filmmaker was best known for directing 1974’s notorious Charles Bronson revenge thriller. But the prolific Winner also made a number of other notable films in an impressive array of genres, including the 1969 war movie Hannibal Brooks, the Western Lawman and the Marlon-Brando-starring horror tale The Nightcomers (both from 1971), and a 1978 remake of The Big Sleep, in which Robert Mitchum played Raymond Chandler’s iconic shamus, Philip Marlowe.
Winner’s last movie was 1999’s comedy-thriller Parting Shots, but the larger-than-life filmmaker continued to loom large in the culture of his homeland, thanks to “Winner’s Dinners,” his long-running restaurant column for The Sunday Times.
Both Piers Morgan and Winner’s fellow British filmmaker Edgar Wright have paid tribute to him on Twitter. Morgan described him as a “hilarious, often preposterous, always generous, highly intelligent man. And terrific writer.” Meanwhile, Wright, who introduced Winner’s Death Wish 3 at a special London screening three years ago, hailed him as a “crazy genius.”