Notting Hill Director Roger Michell Passes Away At 65

Acclaimed and widely respected British filmmaker Roger Michell sadly passed away on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at the age of 65. The gifted stage and movie director was perhaps best known for the 1999 film "Notting Hill," the Julia Roberts- and Hugh Grant-starring romantic comedy that immediately turned Michell into a hot commodity in Hollywood. Michell leaves behind four children as well as an enduring legacy as a skilled journeyman director. His publicist released a statement on his passing:

It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, writer and father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announce his death at the age of 65 on September 22.

'A Kindness I've Never Forgotten'

Roger Michell was born in South Africa in 1956 and went on to first make his mark in the world of theater. After beginning to write, direct, and even act in stage plays during college in Bristol, Michell eventually worked his way up to the Royal Shakespeare Company and spent the next several years directing plays from the most famous playwrights, Shakespeare included. His transition to the world of filmmaking commenced upon graduating from the BBC Directors' Course. He subsequently adapted Jane Austen's novel "Persuasion" for the big screen in 1995 and achieved widespread praise, winning the BAFTA for Best Single Drama.

Throughout this early point in his career, Michell worked with actors such as Naveen Andrews ("The English Patient," "Lost," "Sense8"), Julie Walters ("The Canterbury Tales," "Harry Potter," "Becoming Jane"), Ciarán Hinds ("Road to Perdition," "Munich," "Game of Thrones," "There Will Be Blood"), Bill Nighy ("Love Actually," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Shaun of the Dead"), Andrew Lincoln ("The Walking Dead," "Love Actually"), Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Amistad," "12 Years a Slave"), and many other notable names. Michell then followed up "Notting Hill" with 2002's "Changing Lanes" starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, leading to his multi-year winning streak of "The Mother," "Enduring Love," "Venus," and "Morning Glory."

Despite all these successes, however, many of the remembrances for Michell on social media have gone out of their way to make note of the filmmaker's kindness and generosity of spirit. As "Notting Hill" actor Sanjeev Bhaskar noted on Twitter: "Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Roger Michell. Terrific director & always such great company. He was as generous with his time and attention towards me as the main stars on Notting Hill. A kindness I've never forgotten. Thoughts with his son Harry & Roger's family."

A Lasting Legacy

From his wide-ranging and eclectic background, it's no surprise that Roger Michell went on to become a prolific journeyman filmmaker who was able to move from subject to subject with relative ease. Michell's most recent work includes 2017's "My Cousin Rachel," a Gothic romance and suspense film starring Rachel Weisz, and 2019's "Blackbird," led by Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, and Sam Neill. "The Duke," which premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival in September to largely positive reviews, will be the filmmaker's final work and is scheduled to be released worldwide on February 25, 2022.

Roger Michell will be deeply missed.