The Assoicated Press reports that British filmmaker and "Death Wish" director Michael Winner has died at the age of 77. The news was shared by his wife Geraldine this morning. Winner passed away at his home in London following an illness.
Winner directed Marlon Brando in 1972's The Nightcomers, a prequel to The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, then made his earliest efforts with box office star Charles Bronson in Chato's Land, recounting a mixed race American Indian fighting with Whites, and The Mechanic, a thriller in which professional assassins are depicted.
The following year, Winner cast Lancaster again in the espionage drama Scorpio, and worked with Bronson on The Stone Killer, in collaboration with producer Dino de Laurentiis.
In 1974, Winner and Bronson collaborated on Death Wish, a film that defined the subsequent careers of both men. Based on a novel by Brian Garfield and adapted to the screen by Wendell Mayes, Death Wish was originally planned for director Sidney Lumet under contract with United Artists. The commitment of Lumet to another film and UA's questioning of its subject matter led to an eventual production by Dino De Laurentiis through Paramount Pictures. Death Wish tracks Paul Kersey, a liberal New York architect who becomes a gun-wielding vigilante after his wife is murdered and daughter is raped. With a script adjusted to Bronson's persona, the film generated major controversy during its screenings and was one of the year's highest grossers.