Michael Winner, the director, writer, and producer best known for his Death Wish series of do-it-yourself justice films, has died at the age of 77.
As reported by the BBC, Winner had been ill for some time, having been hospitalized eight times in the last several months. Last summer, specialists looking at his failing liver gave him only 18 months to live.
Winner hadn't directed a film since 1998, and had since become known for his Sunday Times-published restaurant reviews, which went by the incredibly-great title "Winner's Dinners." It was sadly this passion for food that had helped to greaten his health decline and all your worst fears about eating out: in 2007, some bad oysters gave him a rare, often-deadly infection of Vibrio vulnificus, while a more recent serving of steak tartare sent him to the hospital with a case of E. coli.
Winner directed over 30 films over his four-decade career, but he knew what would be his legacy, last year accurately predicting the above headline in an interview in which he said, "When I die, it's going to be Death Wish director dies. I don't mind though - Death Wish was an epoch-making film. The first film in the history of cinema where the hero kills other civilians."
Indeed, Death Wish and his other films influenced much of the action genre of the '80s and '90s, and still continue to shape filmmaking through the modern tribute that is the remake. Winner's 1972 film The Mechanic was in 2011 remade into a Jason Statham, while last January, Joe Carnahan was hired to write and direct a remake of the seminal Death Wish itself. Nonetheless, Winner should rest peacefully knowing he will forever be who we meant when we said "Death Wish director dies."