Winner given 'perfect' funeral

Film director Michael Winner has been buried at Willesden Jewish Cemetery, north London

Film director Michael Winner has been buried at Willesden Jewish Cemetery, north London

First published in National News © by

Sir Michael Parkinson and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman were among the mourners at the funeral of film director Michael Winner.

Winner, who made more than 30 films including the blockbuster Death Wish series, died at home in Kensington, London, on Monday following a lengthy battle with liver disease.

A statement issued by his office said: "Michael Winner was buried today in a moving service at Willesden Jewish Cemetery, north London. If Michael had been alive to film it, he would have said, 'Perfect, darling, perfect'.

"A cold wind whipped a flurry of snowflakes across the cemetery - a film director's dream.

"Among the mourners were many of Michael's friends from long ago as well as his widow Geraldine, his long term assistant Dinah May, Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir David Frost, Bill Wyman, Terry O'Neill, Don Black, Chris Rea and Henry Wyndham, chairman of Sotheby's. The service was conducted by Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler with a reception after at Mr Winner's home, Woodland House, Kensington."

Winner's personal assistant, Natalie Wright, said: "It was the most moving occasion. I've worked for Michael for the last five years and he would have loved the send-off."

Ms Wright added that there were plans for a public memorial service later in the year.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Winner worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and Faye Dunaway. He later reinvented himself as a restaurant critic, writing about food in his typically flamboyant style in his Winner's Dinners column for the Sunday Times.

Winner, whose appearance in adverts for motor insurance coined the catchphrase "Calm down, dear, it's a commercial", also founded and funded the Police Memorial Trust following the murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

More than 50 officers have been honoured by the trust at sites across the country. His initiative led to a National Police Memorial being erected in the Mall in central London.

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