Notting Hill Director Roger Michell Dies At 65

Roger Michell, the director perhaps best known for the romantic comedy Notting Hill, died Wednesday at the age of 65, Variety reports.

A statement form his publicist released to the U.K. Press Association today said: “It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, writer, and father of Harry, Rosie Maggie, and Sparrow, announce his death at the age of 65 on Sept. 22.”

Born in South Africa and raised in Syria and Czechoslovakia, Michell rose to prominence initially in theater, including stints at the U.K.’s Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare company as resident director, and the National Theatre. He transitioned to making TV miniseries in the early nineties, such as Downtown Lagos in 1992 and The Buddha of Suburbia in 1993, a highly acclaimed adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s novel.

It was with the 1999 smash hit comedy Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant and penned by Richard Curtis, that made Michell a Hollywood darling. From there, he went from a relative unknown in America to directing films with high profile celebs, like the 2002 Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson thriller Changing Lanes.

He even directed Peter O’Toole in his final Oscar nominated performance in the 2006 film Venus. In addition, he directed Morning Glory in 2010, starring Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, and Rachel McAdams, and Hyde Park on Hudson in 2012, starring Bill Murray, Laura Linney, and Olivia Williams.

The director’s last fiction films were Backbird in 2019, which featured an ensemble cast that included Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, and Sam Neil, and The Duke in 2020, starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

Michell won multiple BAFTAs over the course of his career, including for best miniseries in 2014 for The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies and for best single drama for 1995’s Persuasion.