British film director dies 'peacefully at home'

By John Mercury October 8, 2023

British screenwriter and film director Terence Davies has died aged 77 following a short illness.

He established himself in the 1970s and 1980s with a trilogy of autobiographical films titled Children, Madonna And Child, and Death And Transformation.

Nine feature films would follow – and most recently, Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi and the late actor Julian Sands starred in his Netflix drama Benediction, based on the life of English poet Siegfried Sassoon.

His manager, John Taylor, said Davies died peacefully at home in his sleep.

A statement added the Latin words Umbra Sumus from poet Horace, and an extract from British writer Christina Rossetti’s poem titled When I Am Dead, My Dearest – both of which had significance to Davies.

Born in Liverpool, Davies worked as a clerk in a shipping office and a bookkeeper in an accountancy firm for 10 years before enrolling at the Coventry Drama School in 1973.

In 1988, he won the Cannes International Critics Prize for Distant Voices, Still Lives – a film drawn from his own family memories of a working-class life in the 1940s and 1950s.

Over the years, a host of famous faces have appeared in Davies’ works.

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Sex Education star Gillian Anderson played socialite Lily Bart in his 2000 adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The House Of Mirth.

Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz played Hester Collyer in a 2011 adaption of 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, about a forbidden love and the fear of loneliness.

And in 2016, Sex And The City star Cynthia Nixon played 19th century poet Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion, written and directed by Davies.

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