On This Day

David Lean

Film Director David Lean
New York Film Academy

Profession: Film Director


Biography: 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

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Monkey
Star Sign: Aries

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

Articles and Photos

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)

Historical Events

Famous Directors