We were with the same publisher, and I admired Michael Winner a lot. Often when he was about to go into the office some staff would make themselves scarce because they didn't consider him altogether nice. This is because he was a man of my own heart--didn't let people shit all over him, said what he thought and when he wanted to say it. He championed me once against an arch homophobe--and how! Britain needs great characters, now that it's no longer authentically British, and Michael Winner was a star.
Michael Winner: Film Director Dies Aged 77Sky News – 12 minutes ago
Film director and restaurant critic Michael Winner has died at the age of 77.Winner, who had been ill for some time, died on Monday at his London home in Kensington, where he was being nursed by his wife Geraldine.
Paying tribute to her husband Mrs Winner, a former dancer who he married two years ago, said in a statement: "Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous.
"A light has gone out in my life."
Winner made more than 30 films, including the blockbuster Death Wish series.
In a film career which spanned more than 50 years, he worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and Faye Dunaway.
He later reinvented himself as a restaurant critic, writing about food in his typically flamboyant style in his Winner's Dinners column for The Sunday Times.
Sky's Lucy Cotter said: "His first film was Shoot To Kill in 1960. The turning point in his career came in 1972 when he directed Marlon Brando in The Nightcomers.
"But it was really Death Wish which starred Charles Bronson which was seen as his most famous work, and at the time was incredibly shocking.
"People around the country will also know him for being a food critic.
"He wrote for The Sunday Times. He had a column, Winner's Dinners, for about 20 years.
"He was very humourous, very cantankerous. I think the people whose restaurants he came into would have in some ways dreaded him coming in because he did not hold back in those columns.
"He had been ill for a while, but people will be quite surprised to hear this sad news."
Winner, whose appearance in adverts for motor insurance coined the catchphrase "Calm down dear, it's only a commercial", also founded and funded the Police Memorial Trust following the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.
More than 50 officers have been honoured by the trust at sites across the country.
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