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Famous Like Me > Actor > L > David Lean

Profile of David Lean on Famous Like Me

Name: David Lean  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 13th November 1980
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Sir David Lean (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was a British film director, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia The Bridge on the River Kwaiand Doctor Zhivago.

David Lean

He was born in Croydon, Surrey to Francis William le Blount Lean and the former Helena Tangye. He started at the bottom, as a clapperboard assistant. By 1930 he was working as an editor on newsreels, including Gaumont Pictures and Movietone. His career in feature films began with Escape Me Never in 1935. He went on to edit Gabriel Pascal production's of two George Bernard Shaw plays, Pygmalion (1938) and Major Barbara (1941), and Powell & Pressburger's Forty-Ninth Parallel (1941) and One of our Aircraft is Missing (1942).

His first work as a director was in partnership with Noel Coward on In Which We Serve (1942), and he went on to adapt several of Coward's plays into successful films. These included This Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945) and Brief Encounter (1945). These were followed by two celebrated Charles Dickens adaptations of Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), as well as The Sound Barrier (1952) a collaboration with the playwright Terence Rattigan, and Hobson's Choice (1954) a stylish comic update of King Lear set in Victorian Manchester, and based on the play by Harold Brighouse.

Summertime (1955), marked a new direction in for Lean. Filmed in colour, it was shot entirely on location in Venice. US financed, the film starred Katharine Hepburn as a middle-aged American woman who has a romance while on holiday in Venice.

In the following years, Lean went on to make the blockbusters for which he is best known: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Academy Award, followed by another for Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Doctor Zhivago (1965) was another major hit, but after the moderately successful Ryan's Daughter in 1970, he did not direct another film until A Passage to India (1984), which would be his last. He was knighted in 1984. He was in the midst of planning an epic production of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo when he died from cancer in 1991 (Nostromo would eventually be made as a BBC mini-series).

Lean was married six times, and divorced five — his last wife survived him:

  1. Isabel Lean (1930 – 1936) — one son Peter
  2. Kay Walsh (1940 – 1949)
  3. Ann Todd (1949 – 1957)
  4. Leila Matkar (1960 – 1978)
  5. Sandra Hotz (1981 – 1984)
  6. Sandra Cooke (1990 – 1991)


Peter O'Toole's performance as an eccentric filmmaker in 1980's The Stunt Man was loosely based on Lean, who of course directed him in Lawrence of Arabia.

Lean was a long-term resident of Limehouse, East London. His Narrow Street home is still owned by his family.


"I wouldn't take the advice of a lot of so-called critics on how to shoot a close-up of a teapot."

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article David Lean