Lewis Gilbert, who directed three James Bond films including The Spy Who Loved Me, has died aged 97.
Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said the British film-maker would be “sorely missed”.
They added: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert.
“Lewis was a true gentleman. He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films, directing You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.
“His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series.”
Gilbert, who was born in London in 1920, also directed Educating Rita (1983), Shirley Valentine (1989) and Alfie – the 1966 film which made Michael Caine a star and earned Gilbert an Oscar nomination.
Gilbert made his Bond debut with 1967’s You Only Live Twice starring Sean Connery, before going on to oversee The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), both starring Roger Moore.
Moore’s family tweeted a tribute, saying: “Lewis Gilbert was one of Sir Roger’s favourite directors. The industry and Bond world will miss him although his legacy lives on forever. RIP Lewis.”
Gilbert’s final film, 2002’s Before You Go, saw him team up again with Educating Rita star Julie Walters.
His earlier films included the Second World War classics Reach For The Sky, about real-life fighter pilot Douglas Bader who flew having lost both legs before the war, and Sink The Bismarck!
Gilbert was awarded a BFI fellowship in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to British film.
The official 007 Twitter account posted: “Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time,” alongside a series of behind-the-scenes photos of Gilbert on set.
British director, producer and screenwriter Lewis Gilbert has passed away at the age of 97. Gilbert directed three Bond films; YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) and MOONRAKER (1979). Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/FtfipGrx58
— James Bond (@007) February 27, 2018
Fellow British director Edgar Wright said: “RIP Lewis Gilbert, the great British director who, among his 40 plus credits, directed ‘Alfie’, ‘Educating Rita’, ‘Reach For The Sky’, ‘Shirley Valentine’ and one of my very favourite Bond films: ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. “Why’d you have to be so good?”
Comedian David Walliams thanked Gilbert “for or all the joy you brought me & millions of others”.