Director & Playwright Anthony Minghella Dies at 54Date: 18 March 2008
Anthony Minghella (pictured) – the Oscar-winning film director who started his career as a playwright in London – has died suddenly at Charing Cross Hospital. According to press reports, he had a brain hemorrhage at 5.00am this morning (18 March 2008) after a routine operation on his neck. Minghella was 54.
Minghella is best known for his feature films including Truly Madly Deeply, The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain, Mr Wonderful, Breaking and Entering and, most notably, 1996’s The English Patient, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas and won nine Academy Awards, including Best Director for Minghella.
His most recent project, a BBC serial adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which he co-wrote (with Richard Curtis) and directed, is due to start airing this weekend.
Prior to his Hollywood success, however, Minghella made his name on the London stage. He was named Most Promising Playwright at the 1984 Critics’ Circle Awards and proved he was worthy of the title with plays including Whale Music, A Little Like Drowning, Two Planks and a Passion and Made in Bangkok, which transferred to the West End and won him another Critics’ Circle gong, this time for Best New Play. He made his stage directorial debut with a double bill of Samuel Beckett’s Play and Happy Days.
Success in television and film – as a screenwriter and producer as well as director – largely kept him away from stage work from the early 1990s. However, he returned to the stage in 2005 to make his opera directing debut with Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, which was seen at the London Coliseum before a stint at New York’s Metropolitan Opera house.
The son of ice cream factory owners, Anthony Minghella was born on 6 January 1954 on the Isle of Wight, where the Anthony Minghella Theatre at Quay Arts Centre is named in his honour. He is survived by his wife Carolyn Choa, son Max and daughter Hannah.
- by Terri Paddock