Michael Winner dies aged 77

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The film director, Michael Winner, has died at the age of 77.

In a statement, his wife, Geraldine, said: "Michael was a wonderful man -- brilliant, funny and generous. A light has gone out in my life."

Winner began his career as a journalist and film critic before joining Motion Pictures Limited as a writer and editor in 1956.

His first work as a director was satirical, but he became better known for his action films, especially the violent Death Wish series, starring Charles Bronson. He also wrote controversial restaurant reviews for the Sunday Times.

A founder member and lifetime honorary member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, Winner was the longest serving council member until he resigned in 2006

He had been ill for some time. Last summer, he announced that liver specialists had given him only 18 months to live. There will be a full obituary in a future print edition of The Stage.