Sir David Lean was a British film director and cinematographer who was known for making epic films with stunning scenes in beautiful places. He used the screen to its fullest, which is something that very few directors can do. He made fantastic background scenes, like a huge stretch of grey asphalt with a single motorcycle or a huge dam with workers coming out of tunnels that made them look like small ants. He went from being a tea boy to a great director over time. Over the course of 42 years, he only made 16 movies. People say that his last five movies, which he made with money from the United States, are the best British movies ever. This shows how good he is as a director and cinematographer. When making any of his movies, no matter where they were shot, he was sometimes compared to a general leading his troops into battle. During his film career, he won 31 awards, including “Academy Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “BAFTA Awards,” and many others for “Best Director” and other achievements. He was also nominated 27 times for different awards.
Early years and childhood
David Lean was born on March 25, 1908, in the English town of Croydon, Surrey. Francis William le Blount Lean was his father, and Helena Tangye was his mother.
Edward Tangye was his younger brother.
In 1926, when he was in the middle of his teens, he left the boarding school and went to work as an apprentice at his father’s accounting firm.
David Lean’s Career
David Lean got his start in movies as a teaboy at “Gaumont-British Studios.” He then worked as a clapboard boy, and by the end of the 1930s, he was the highest-paid editor.
He helped make “Pygmalion” in 1938 and “One of Our Aircraft is Missing” in 1941. In 1941, he worked on a movie called “Major Barbara,” which was his first unofficial attempt at directing.
In 1942, he and Noel Coward worked together to direct the movie “In Which We Serve.” They also started the production company “Cineguild” with Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan.
His first solo film, “This Happy Breed,” came out in 1944. His second, “Blithe Spirit,” came out in 1945, and his third, “Brief Encounter,” also came out in 1945. All three were based on plays by Noel Coward.
The next two movies he made were based on classics by Charles Dickens. They were called “Great Expectations” (1946) and “Oliver Twist” (1948).
In 1949, he made “The Passionate Friends.”
When Cineguild broke up in 1950, Lean went to work for British producer Alexander Korda at “Shepperton Studios.”
In 1950, he made “Madeleine,” and in 1952, he made “The Sound Barrier.”
The movies he made in 1954 and 1955, “Hobson’s Choice” and “Summertime,” were not very good.
In 1957, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” brought him back to fame.
In 1962, he made his best epic, “Lawrence of Arabia.” In 1965, he made “Doctor Zhivago.”
In 1970, he made a love story called “Ryan’s Daughter.” After hearing bad things about the movie, he didn’t make another one for 14 years.
His last movie, “A Passage to India,” was made in 1984. It was based on a book by E. M. Forster.
At the time of his death, he was adapting Joseph Conrad’s book “Nostromo” for the big screen.
Awards & Achievements
In 1942, “In Which We Serve” earned David Lean the “AGFA Silver Condor” and a nomination for the “New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director.”
In 1945, he won the “Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation” for “Blithe Spirit.” In 1946, “Brief Encounter” earned him nominations for “Academy Awards” for “Best Director” and “Best Adapted Screenplay.”
For “Great Expectations,” which came out in 1947, he was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Director” and “Best Adapted Screenplay.”
For “Oliver Twist,” which he made in 1948, he won the “Golden Lion” and was nominated for the “BAFTA for Best Film.”
Summertime won Lean the “New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director” in 1955. It also got him nominated for the “Academy Award for Best Director” and the “BAFTA Award for Best Film.”
For the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” which came out in 1957, he won the “Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film,” the “BAFTA Award for Best Film,” the “Academy Awards” for “Best Director” and “Best Picture,” the “Golden Globe Awards” for “Best Director – Motion Picture,” the “National Board of Review Award for Best Director,” and the “New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director.”
In 1962, he won the “Academy Award” for “Best Director” and “Best Picture,” the “Golden Globe” award for “Best Director – Motion Picture” and “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” the “Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film,” the “National Board of Review Award for Best Director,” and the “Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon – Best Director of a Foreign Film” for “Lawrence
In 1965, he won the “Golden Globe” awards for “Best Director – Motion Picture” and “Best Motion Picture – Drama.”
He was also nominated for “The Academy Awards” for “Best Director” and “Best Picture,” the “BAFTA Award for Best Film,” and the “Golden Palm” award for “Dr. Zhivago,” and he shared the “New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director” with Roman Polanski.
In 1970, Lean won the “Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Director.” He was also nominated for “Best Director” and “Best Film” at the “BAFTA Awards,” and “Ryan’s Daughter” earned him the “Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film.”
In 1984, he won the “Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film,” the “Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director,” the “National Board of Review Award for Best Director,” and the “New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director.”
He also received nominations for “Best Director,” “Best Picture,” “Best Adapted Screenplay,” and “Best Film Editing” from the Academy Awards, “BAFTA Award nominations for “Best Adapted Screenplay” and “Best
In 1984, he was made a knight, and in 1990, he got the “American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Personal History and Legacies
On June 28, 1930, he married his first cousin Isabel Jean. They split up in 1936. Peter, his only child, was born to him in this marriage.
On November 23, 1940, he married actress Kay Walsh. They got a divorce in 1949.
On May 21, 1949, he married actress, Ann Todd. They split up in 1957.
On July 4, 1960, he married Leila Matkar, but they broke up in 1978.
On October 28, 1981, he married Sandra Holtz. In 1984, they got a divorce.
On December 15, 1990, he married his sixth wife, Sandra Cooke.
David Lean died of throat cancer on April 16, 1991, in London.
His movies, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Lawrence of Arabia,” are both in the “Library of Congress National Film Registry” and the “National Film Registry.”
In 2008, the British Film Institute gave the name “David Lean Cinema” to a theater in Croydon, which is in South London.
Estimated Net worth
David is on the list of the most popular and wealthiest Directors. Based on what we found on Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, David Lean has a net worth of about $9 million.
Over the course of his career, David Lean edited about 25 movies.