David Lean - Producer, Career and Childhood

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David Lean's Personal Details

Sir David Lean was an Academy award-winning British film director, producer and cinematographer

InformationDetail
BirthdayMarch 25, 1908
Died onApril 16, 1991
NationalityBritish
FamousFilm Director, Producer, Screenwater, Film & Theater Personalities, Directors, Cinematographers, T V & Movie Producers
SpousesAnn Todd (1949–1957; divorced), Isabel Lean (1930–1936; divorced), Kay Walsh (1940–1949; divorced), Leila Matkar (1960–1978; divorced), Sandra Cooke (1990–1991; his death), Sandra Hotz (1981–1984; divorced)
Known asSir David Lean
Cause of deathCancer
Birth PlaceCroydon, Surrey, England
GenderMale
FatherFrancis William le Blount Lean
MotherHelena Tangye
Sun SignAries
Born inCroydon, Surrey, England
Famous asFilm Director, Producer & Screenwater
Died at Age83

// Famous Screenwater

David Lean's photo

Who is David Lean?

Sir David Lean was a British film director and cinematographer famous for the spectacular scenes of breathtaking locales in his epic films. He used the screen to its maximum effect which very few directors ever could. He created backdrop scenes that were fantastic like the vast expanse of grey tarmac with a single motorcycle or the scene of a huge dam from which uniformed workers looking like small ants coming out from tunnels. He rose gradually from a tea-boy to a director par excellence. He made only 16 films over a career spread over 42 years. His last five films made with American finances, are claimed to be the best British films, which speaks volumes of his talent as a great director and cinematographer. He was sometimes compared to a general leading his troops into battle when shooting any of his films irrespective of the location. He won 31 awards including ‘Academy Awards’, ‘Golden Globe Awards’, ‘BAFTA Awards’, and many other awards for the ‘Best Director’ and other achievements from various film institutions around the world and was nominated 27 times for different awards during his entire film making career.

// Famous Producer

Childhood & Early Life

David Lean was born in Croydon, Surrey, England on March 25, 1908. His father was Francis William le Blount Lean and his mother was Helena Tangye.

He had a younger brother named Edward Tangye.

He left the boarding school in his mid-teens in 1926 and became an apprentice at his father’s accountancy firm.

Career

David Lean started his career in films as teaboy at ‘Gaumont-British Studios’, then as a clapboard boy, and became the highest paid editor by the end of the 1930s.

In 1938 he worked on ‘Pygmalion’ and in 1941 on ‘One of Our Aircraft is Missing’. He also worked in his first unofficial directional effort ‘Major Barbara’ in 1941.

In 1942 he co-directed the film ‘In Which We Serve’ with Noel Coward and co-founded a production company named ‘Cineguild’ with Noel Coward, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan.

His first solo directorial effort ‘This Happy Breed’ in 1944, his second film ‘Blithe Spirit’ in 1945 and the third film ‘Brief Encounter’ in 1945 were all based on Noel Coward’s plays.

His next two films based on Charles Dickens’ classics were ‘Great Expectations’ in 1946 and ‘Oliver Twist’ in 1948.

He made ‘The Passionate Friends’ in 1949.

In 1950 Lean started working for the British producer Alexander Korda at ‘Shepperton Studios’ when ‘Cineguild’ disbanded.

He made ‘Madeline’ in 1950 and ‘The Sound Barrier’ in 1952.

His ‘Hobson’s Choice’ in 1954 and ‘Summertime’ in 1955 were mediocre films.

He returned to prominence with ‘The Bridge on River Kwai’ in 1957.

In 1962 he made his finest epic ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Dr Zhivago’ in 1965

He made a romantic film ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ in 1970. He did not make a film for the next 14 years after getting negative reviews about the film.

His last film was ‘A Passage to India’ in 1984, based on the novel written by E. M. Forster.

At the time of his death, he was working on a screen version of Joseph Conrad’s novel ‘Nostromo’.

Awards & Achievements

David Lean won the ‘AGFA Silver Condor’ and nomination for ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’ in 1942 for ‘In Which We Serve’.

In 1945 he won the ‘Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation’ for ‘Blithe Spirit’ and ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ in 1946 for ‘Brief Encounter’.

In 1947 he received ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for ‘Great Expectations’.

In 1948 he won the ‘Golden Lion’ and was nominated for ‘BAFTA for Best Film’ for ‘Oliver Twist’.

In 1955 Lean received the ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’, nominations for ‘Academy Award for Best Director’ and ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’ for ‘Summertime’.

In 1957 he won the ‘Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’, ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’, ‘Academy Awards’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’, ‘Golden Globe Awards’ for the ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’, ‘National Board of Review for Best Director’ and ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for best Director’ for the film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’.

In 1962 he won the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’, ‘Golden Globe’ award for ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’ and ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’, ‘Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’, ‘National Board of Review Award for Best Director’ and ‘Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon – Best Director of a Foreign Film’ for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

In 1965 he won ‘Golden Globe’ award for ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’ and ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’ and ‘David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Director, was nominated for ‘Academy Awards’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’, ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’ and ‘Golden Palm’ award for ‘Dr. Zhivago’ and tied with Roman Polanski for the ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’.

In 1970 Lean won the ‘Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Director’ and was nominated for the ‘BAFTA Awards’ for ‘Best Director’ and Best Film, and the ‘Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’ for ‘Ryan’s Daughter’.

In 1984 he won the ‘Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film’, ‘Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for best Director’, ‘National Board of Review Award for Best Director’, ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’, and ‘Academy Award’ nominations for ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and ‘Best Film Editing’, ‘BAFTA Award nominations for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and ‘Best Film’, ‘ and nominations for ‘Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’, ‘Writers Guild of America Award’ and Golden Globe Award’ nomination for ‘Best Adapted screenplay’ for ‘A Passage to India’.

He was knighted in 1984 and awarded the ‘American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 1990.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married his first cousin, Isabel Jean on June 28, 1930 and divorced her in 1936. He had his only son, Peter from this marriage.

He married actress Kay Walsh on November 23, 1940 and divorced her in 1949.

He married actress Ann Todd on May 21, 1949 and divorced her 1957.

His married Leila Matkar on July 4, 1960 and the couple separated in 1978.

He married Sandra Holtz on October 28, 1981 and divorced her in 1984.

His married his sixth wife Sandra Cooke on December 15, 1990.

David Lean died on April 16, 1991 in London from throat cancer.

His film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ found a place in the ‘Library of Congress National Film Registry’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in the ‘National Film Registry’.

‘The British Film Institute’ named a theater in Croydon, South London, as ‘David Lean Cinema’ in 2008.

Trivia

David Lean edited about 25 films in his entire career.

// Famous Film Director

David Lean awards

YearNameAward

Academy Awards(Oscars)

1963Best DirectorLawrence of Arabia (1962)
1958Best DirectorThe Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Golden Globe Awards

1966Best DirectorDoctor Zhivago (1965)
1963Best DirectorLawrence of Arabia (1962)
1958Best DirectorThe Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

David Lean biography timelines

  • // 25th Mar 1908
    David Lean was born in Croydon, Surrey, England on March 25, 1908. His father was Francis William le Blount Lean and his mother was Helena Tangye.
  • // 1926
    He left the boarding school in his mid-teens in 1926 and became an apprentice at his father’s accountancy firm.
  • // 28th Jun 1930 To 1936
    He married his first cousin, Isabel Jean on June 28, 1930 and divorced her in 1936. He had his only son, Peter from this marriage.
  • // 1938 To 1941
    In 1938 he worked on ‘Pygmalion’ and in 1941 on ‘One of Our Aircraft is Missing’. He also worked in his first unofficial directional effort ‘Major Barbara’ in 1941.
  • // 23rd Nov 1940 To 1949
    He married actress Kay Walsh on November 23, 1940 and divorced her in 1949.
  • // 1942
    In 1942 he co-directed the film ‘In Which We Serve’ with Noel Coward and co-founded a production company named ‘Cineguild’ with Noel Coward, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan.
  • // 1942
    David Lean won the ‘AGFA Silver Condor’ and nomination for ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’ in 1942 for ‘In Which We Serve’.
  • // 1945 To 1946
    In 1945 he won the ‘Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation’ for ‘Blithe Spirit’ and ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ in 1946 for ‘Brief Encounter’.
  • // 1946 To 1948
    His next two films based on Charles Dickens’ classics were ‘Great Expectations’ in 1946 and ‘Oliver Twist’ in 1948.
  • // 1947
    In 1947 he received ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for ‘Great Expectations’.
  • // 1948
    In 1948 he won the ‘Golden Lion’ and was nominated for ‘BAFTA for Best Film’ for ‘Oliver Twist’.
  • // 1949
    He made ‘The Passionate Friends’ in 1949.
  • // 21st May 1949 To 1957
    He married actress Ann Todd on May 21, 1949 and divorced her 1957.
  • // 1950
    In 1950 Lean started working for the British producer Alexander Korda at ‘Shepperton Studios’ when ‘Cineguild’ disbanded.
  • // 1950 To 1952
    He made ‘Madeline’ in 1950 and ‘The Sound Barrier’ in 1952.
  • // 1954 To 1955
    His ‘Hobson’s Choice’ in 1954 and ‘Summertime’ in 1955 were mediocre films.
  • // 1955
    In 1955 Lean received the ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’, nominations for ‘Academy Award for Best Director’ and ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’ for ‘Summertime’.
  • // 1957
    He returned to prominence with ‘The Bridge on River Kwai’ in 1957.
  • // 1957
    In 1957 he won the ‘Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’, ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’, ‘Academy Awards’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’, ‘Golden Globe Awards’ for the ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’, ‘National Board of Review for Best Director’ and ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for best Director’ for the film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’.
  • // 4th Jul 1960 To 1978
    His married Leila Matkar on July 4, 1960 and the couple separated in 1978.
  • // 1962 To 1965
    In 1962 he made his finest epic ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Dr Zhivago’ in 1965
  • // 1962
    In 1962 he won the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’, ‘Golden Globe’ award for ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’ and ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’, ‘Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’, ‘National Board of Review Award for Best Director’ and ‘Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon – Best Director of a Foreign Film’ for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.
  • // 1965
    In 1965 he won ‘Golden Globe’ award for ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’ and ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’ and ‘David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Director, was nominated for ‘Academy Awards’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’, ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’ and ‘Golden Palm’ award for ‘Dr. Zhivago’ and tied with Roman Polanski for the ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’.
  • // 1970
    He made a romantic film ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ in 1970. He did not make a film for the next 14 years after getting negative reviews about the film.
  • // 1970
    In 1970 Lean won the ‘Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Director’ and was nominated for the ‘BAFTA Awards’ for ‘Best Director’ and Best Film, and the ‘Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’ for ‘Ryan’s Daughter’.
  • // 28th Oct 1981 To 1984
    He married Sandra Holtz on October 28, 1981 and divorced her in 1984.
  • // 1984
    His last film was ‘A Passage to India’ in 1984, based on the novel written by E. M. Forster.
  • // 1984
    In 1984 he won the ‘Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film’, ‘Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for best Director’, ‘National Board of Review Award for Best Director’, ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director’, and ‘Academy Award’ nominations for ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and ‘Best Film Editing’, ‘BAFTA Award nominations for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and ‘Best Film’, ‘ and nominations for ‘Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’, ‘Writers Guild of America Award’ and Golden Globe Award’ nomination for ‘Best Adapted screenplay’ for ‘A Passage to India’.
  • // 1984 To 1990
    He was knighted in 1984 and awarded the ‘American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 1990.
  • // 15th Dec 1990
    His married his sixth wife Sandra Cooke on December 15, 1990.
  • // 16th Apr 1991
    David Lean died on April 16, 1991 in London from throat cancer.
  • // 2008
    ‘The British Film Institute’ named a theater in Croydon, South London, as ‘David Lean Cinema’ in 2008.

// Famous Cinematographers

David Lean's FAQ

  • What is David Lean birthday?

    David Lean was born at 1908-03-25

  • When was David Lean died?

    David Lean was died at 1991-04-16

  • Where was David Lean died?

    David Lean was died in Limehouse, London, England

  • Which age was David Lean died?

    David Lean was died at age 83

  • Where is David Lean's birth place?

    David Lean was born in Croydon, Surrey, England

  • What is David Lean nationalities?

    David Lean's nationalities is British

  • Who is David Lean spouses?

    David Lean's spouses is Ann Todd (1949–1957; divorced), Isabel Lean (1930–1936; divorced), Kay Walsh (1940–1949; divorced), Leila Matkar (1960–1978; divorced), Sandra Cooke (1990–1991; his death), Sandra Hotz (1981–1984; divorced)

  • What is David Lean's cause of dead?

    David Lean dead because of Cancer

  • Who is David Lean's father?

    David Lean's father is Francis William le Blount Lean

  • Who is David Lean's mother?

    David Lean's mother is Helena Tangye

  • What is David Lean's sun sign?

    David Lean is Aries

  • How famous is David Lean?

    David Lean is famouse as Film Director, Producer & Screenwater