David Lean

Film Director David Lean

Profession: Film Director


Why Famous: David Lean is famous for his epic films on a grand scale, such as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago".

Lean's career began as an editor before he took on directing and later screen writing roles. An early success was romantic drama "A Brief Encounter" (1945) and the Dickens adaptations Great Expectations" (1946) and "Oliver Twist" (1948).

The first of his truly epic films was the war drama "Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957), for which he won an Oscar for Best Director and the film Best Picture. His follow-up "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) also won Best Picture and Director

Lean's most financially successful film was "Doctor Zhivago" (1965) set in revolutionary Russia and famous for its musical score.

Lean's last major film was "A Passage to India" (1984), based on E.M. Forster's novel, for which he also alone wrote the screenplay. Lean was knighted in 1984.

Born: March 25, 1908
Birthplace: Croydon, Surrey, Great Britain
Star Sign: Aries

Died: April 16, 1991 (aged 83)
Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Married Life

  • 1930-06-28 Film director David Lean (22) weds his first cousin Isabel Lean
  • 1940-11-23 Film director David Lean (32) weds actress Kay Walsh (29)
  • 1949-05-21 Film director David Lean (41) weds actress and producer Ann Todd (40) in London
  • 1960-07-04 Film director David Lean (52) weds fourth wife Leila Matkar
  • 1981-10-28 Film director David Lean (73) weds fifth wife Sandra Hotz
  • 1990-12-15 Academy award-winning director David Lean (82) weds interior designer Sandra Cooke (51)

Events in the Life of David Lean

  • 1945-11-26 "Brief Encounter", based on Noël Coward's one-act play "Still Life", directed by David Lean and starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard is released
  • 1957-10-02 "The Bridge on the River Kwai", directed by David Lean and starring William Holden and Alec Guinness, is released (Academy Awards Best Picture 1958)
  • 1962-12-10 David Lean's film "Lawrence of Arabia", based on life of T. E. Lawrence and starring Peter O'Toole, premieres at Odeon Leicester Square (Academy Awards Best Picture 1963)
  • 1962-12-16 "Lawrence of Arabia" film directed by David Lean and starring Peter O'Toole, is released in the United States
  • 1965-12-22 "Doctor Zhivago" based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, directed by David Lean and starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie premieres in NYC

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