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In Memoriam: Anthony Minghella (1954-2008)

Anthony Minghella

The eloquent writer/producer and director died Tuesday from a hemorrhage following surgery. He was 54 years old.

Minghella is probably best known for his Academy Award winning film The English Patient. He wrote the adaptation of the novel and directed the film. He also stood his ground in using a cast of actors not considered box office draws. Kirsten Scott Thomas, Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche all received Oscar nominations. Binoche won.

Most recently Minghella had completed “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” adapted from the Alexander McCall Smith novel. It was filmed in Botswana and was to air on British television this week.

He was also the Executive Producer of the 2007 Oscar nominated film Michael Clayton.

The director was working on two more films, New York, I Love You and The Ninth Life of Louis Drax an adaptation of the novel by Liz Jensen.

Minghella was a master at adapting great novels, turning them into great films.

His first film, based on his own original screenplay, was Truly, Madly, Deeply about a love that transcends death.

But it was The English Patient that put the director on the map. The sweeping production that he created from Michael Ondaaje’s novel was a critical and box office success.

He followed it with The Talented Mr. Ripley adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel in 1999. That film, starring Matt Damon, earned five Oscar nominations including best screenplay for Minghella’s adaptation.

In 2000 he filmed Play a fifteen minute short film of the Samuel Beckett play.

Then in 2003 there was the Oscar nominated Cold Mountain. His last released film was Breaking and Entering in 2006.

Most recently he can be seen as an actor playing the interviewer at the end of the film Atonement.

In 2005 he turned to directing opera with a successful production of “Madama Butterfly” at the English National Opera.

Mr. Minghella’s career including writing for television, including the Jim Henson series “The Storyteller”, the “Inspector Morse” series and a variety of other television projects.

Of course it’s his films that he’ll be remembered for. He was a rare talent who wrote eloquent screenplays that he brought to life on film. Minghella, the son of Italian immigrants began his career as a playwright in London in 1986 with the production of “Made in Bangkok”.

He’s survived by his wife and two children.

And his films.

Anthony Minghella’s creativity and brilliance will be sorely missed.

Robin Ruinsky has been a writer since penning her autobiography in fourth grade. Along the way she's studied theater at Syracuse University, worked with Woody Allen starring most of the time on the cutting room floor. A segue into the punk rock scene followed but writing was always the main focus. She writes for various crafty, artsy magazines about people who make craftsy, artsy collectible things. But her first love is writing fiction and film criticism which some people think are the same thing.

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