Critic Michael Winner dies aged 77

News Shopper: Film director and restaurant critic Michael Winner has died Film director and restaurant critic Michael Winner has died

Film director and restaurant critic Michael Winner has died, his wife Geraldine has said. He was 77.

Mr Winner, who made more than 30 films including the blockbuster Death Wish series, had been ill for some time and died at his home in Kensington, London, where he was being nursed by his wife.

Paying tribute to her husband Mrs Winner, a former dancer whom he married two years ago, said in a statement: "Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous. A light has gone out in my life."

In a film career which spanned more than 50 years, he 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 only 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.

The initiative led to a National Police Memorial being erected in the Mall in central London.

Steve Lloyd, trust manager and vice-chairman of the Police Roll of Honour Trust, said: "Michael had been ill for some time, but this is still a sad loss. Michael was a keen supporter of police charities and in particular was the founder of the project that let to the National Police Memorial being placed in the Mall in London.

"There is no doubt that Michael's work will be continued and we at the Trust pass on our sympathies to his family at this sad time. The work he did on behalf of the policing family brought a lot of comfort to those he recognised."

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