The name for this topic gets its cue from the fact that its subject had a personalised number plate on his car, that was RA 1. This tribute and what is at the heart of it, for me, is personal. As a venture that describes itself as a “cause for celebration and concern,” this subject provides cause for celebration indeed and for concern in action! On this day, one hundred years ago, Richard Attenborough was born. This year The Arts And Humanity’s Cause is celebrating his centenary in ways and with a project we hope shall inspire others, as he inspired us. Richard Ateenborough was a great believer in having heroes. He said, “I passionately believe in heroes. Heroes are people whose activities, whose attitudes and whose judgements, you just think, wow. That’s good, that’s right, that’s real.” Richard Attenborough is remembered, and his legacy shall last, not because he was a hero, although a young man of barely the age of maturity who flew many times over enemy territory in bombing raids in the second world war and whose hearing was permanently affected, should be described as a hero. We do though, celebrate his”activities, whose attitudes and whose judgements, you just think, wow. That’s good, that’s right, that’s real.” Just as he both looked up to and himself related to, people he had admiration and affection for, so too, this is so here. Richard Attenborough made a difference that went beyond the big screen, his artistic endeavours matched by humanitarian efforts. You shall be able to read more about these as part of our Centenary Celebration, on this link to The Ustinov Prejudice Awareness Forum, we regularly partner with.
I had long been far more than a fan of the man and his work from afar, for his roles as a brilliant character actor, and as a brilliant man of character. Since my childhood I had seen him in so many films and had seen his range as an actor, producer, director. I was thrilled when as a youth barely out of University, he saw me on stage in one of my first very significant performances, came back to meet me and congratulate me, and told me to write to him! I went on soon after that to work with him at the Museum Of The Moving Image, where I was under contract and worked as an actor and animator, particularly memorably, for the Centenary Of Cinema Celebration. The Centenary of Richard Attenborough Celebration, is one that celebrates cinema, as an art form, and celebrates Richard Attenborough as a human being. It is what The Arts And Humanity’s Cause is all about. My partner Lanechka and I say Happy Birthday to the man and the memory that was and is, Richard Attenborough, a man who brought happiness on screen and off, through his art and for humanity.
Richard Attenborough as a young man
With his beloved wife Sheila Sim
With his distinguished brother David Attenborough