Anthony Minghella: Wikis


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Anthony Minghella
Born 6 January 1954(1954-01-06)
Ryde, Isle of Wight, England
Died 18 March 2008 (aged 54)
London, England
Other name(s) Anthony Minghella CBE
Occupation Director, producer, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1981–2008
Spouse(s) Carolyn Choa

Anthony Minghella, CBE (6 January 1954 — 18 March 2008) was an English film director, playwright and screenwriter. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors at the British Film Institute between 2003 and 2007.

He won the Academy Award for Directing for The English Patient (1996), which also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Director.


Early life

Minghella was born on the Isle of Wight at Ryde, the son of Gloria and Edward Minghella, ice cream factory owners.[1] His father was Italian/Scottish and his mother came from Leeds; her ancestors originally came from Valvori, a small village in the Lazio region of central Italy. Minghella attended St John's College (Portsmouth) and Sandown Grammar School (from 1970 Sandown High School). He was a graduate of the University of Hull, where he completed undergraduate and postgraduate courses, but eventually abandoned his doctoral thesis.


His first piece of produced work was a 1975 stage adaptation of Gabriel Josipovici's Mobius the Stripper and it was his 1985 piece Whale Music that kickstarted his career.[2] He made his directorial debut with a double bill of Samuel Beckett's Play and Happy Days. His first feature film as a director was A Little Like Drowning in 1978.

During the 1980s, he worked in television, starting as a runner on Magpie before moving into script editing the children's drama series Grange Hill for the BBC and later writing The Storyteller series for Jim Henson. He also wrote several episodes of the ITV detective drama Inspector Morse and an episode of long-running ITV drama Boon. His 1986 play Made in Bangkok found mainstream success in the West End.

Minghella won radio success with a Giles Cooper Award for his radio drama Cigarettes and Chocolate[3] first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1988. It was revived on 3 May 2008 as a tribute to its author director following his death. His production starred Juliet Stevenson, Bill Nighy and Jenny Howe. His first radio play Hang Up, starring Anton Lesser and Juliet Stevenson, was revived on 10 May 2008 as part of the BBC Radio 4 Minghella season.[4]

Minghella's 1990 feature Truly, Madly, Deeply, a drama he had written and directed for the BBC's Screen Two anthology strand, bypassed its expected TV broadcast and received a cinema release. In order to make the film, he had turned down an offer to direct another episode of Inspector Morse, which he had thought would be a much higher-profile assignment.

In 1996, he won the Academy Award for Directing for The English Patient. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay for 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley.

The pilot episode of the television adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which he co-wrote and directed, was broadcast on BBC One shortly after his death on 23 March 2008; it was watched by 6.3 million viewers.

He vocally supported I Know I'm Not Alone, a film of musician Michael Franti's peacemaking excursions into Iraq, Palestine and Israel.

He directed a party election broadcast for the Labour Party in 2005. The short film depicted Tony Blair and Gordon Brown working together and was criticised for being insincere: "The Anthony Minghella party political broadcast last year was full of body language fibs", said Peter Collett, a psychologist at the University of Oxford. "When you are talking to me, I'll give you my full attention only if I think you are very high status or if I love you. On that party political broadcast, they are staring at each other like lovers. It is completely false."[5]

He returned to radio drama in 2006 with Eyes Down Looking on BBC Radio 3, starring Jude Law, Juliet Stevenson and David Threlfall to mark Samuel Beckett's 100th birthday celebrations.[6]

Minghella made his operatic debut directing Puccini's Madama Butterfly. It was first seen at the English National Opera in London in 2005, at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius in March 2006 and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in September 2006. The Anthony Minghella Theatre at the Quay Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight is named in his honour. Minghella also made an appearance in the 2007 film Atonement, playing a television host interviewing the novelist whose role was central to the story. Minghella died the day the film was released on DVD.

Minghella's last work was the screenplay of the film adaptation of the 1982 Tony Award-winning musical Nine, based on the film , book by Arthur Kopit, score by Maury Yeston. Minghella worked with Michael Tolkin on the screenplay, with whom he shared credit.

Personal life

Minghella was married to Hong Kong–born choreographer Carolyn Choa. His brother, Dominic, is also a successful scriptwriter, and his son, Max, is an actor. His daughter Hannah worked as a production assistant on The Talented Mr. Ripley, and is currently President of Sony Pictures Animation.[7] His sister Edana participated in a jazz event on the Isle of Wight, and his nephew Dante is one of the participants in Channel 4's Child Genius series.

He was a big Portsmouth fan and appeared in the Channel 4 documentary Hallowed Be Thy Game. His home had two double bedrooms dedicated to the display of Portsmouth memorabilia dating back to the club's founding in 1898.[8][9]


Minghella died of a hemorrhage on 18 March 2008 in Charing Cross Hospital, London, following an operation the previous week to remove cancer of the tonsils and neck.[10][11]



Year Title Oscar
Bafta Awards
Bafta Awards
A Little Like Drowning . . . .
Truly, Madly, Deeply . .
Mr. Wonderful
The English Patient
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Cold Mountain
Breaking and Entering
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
New York, I Love You


Year Title Notes
Iris (executive)
The Quiet American (executive)
The Interpreter (executive)
Catch a Fire
Breaking and Entering
Michael Clayton (executive)
Margaret (executive)
The Reader Nominated for an Academy Award posthumously.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Love You More


Year Title Role
A Little Like Drowning Eduardo
Atonement Interviewer

Selected plays

  • Whale Music (New End Theatre, Hampstead, June 1981); revived for radio, BBC Radio 4, 10 May 2008
  • Two Planks And A Passion (Greenwich Theatre, November 1984)
  • A Little Like Drowning (Hampstead Theatre, July 1984)
  • Made In Bangkok (West End debut as a playwright, Aldwych Theatre. 18 March 1986, director Michael Blakemore)
  • Hang Up (radio play for BBC Radio 4,1987)
  • Cigarettes and Chocolate (60-minute radio play for BBC Radio 4, 1988)
  • Eyes Down Looking (Beckett 100th Birthday tribute, radio play for BBC Radio 3, 1 April 2006)



  1. ^ "Anthony Minghella Biography (1954-)". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  2. ^ "Anthony Minghella at". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  3. ^ "BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Saturday Play, Cigarettes and Chocolate". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  4. ^ Hemley, Matthew (2008-04-25). "BBC radio to air Minghella play season". The Stage. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  5. ^ Henderson, Mark (2006-09-06). "The science behind their mutual dislike". The Times Online. London. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  6. ^ Koek, Ariane (2006-04-01). "BBC - Radio 3 - The Verb - Beckett centenary". BBC. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  7. ^ David S. Cohen and Tatiana Siegel (2008-03-14). "Osher named Sony Digital president". Variety. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  8. ^ Anthony Minghella, Official site, 18 March 2008
  9. ^ Oliver Duff, Pandora: Director's dream for Pompey The Independent, 19 March 2008
  10. ^ Oscar-winner Minghella dies after cancer op
  11. ^ "Anthony Minghella, Director, Dies at 54.". New York Times. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-19. "Anthony Minghella, a British filmmaker who won an Academy Award for his direction of “The English Patient,” died Tuesday morning in London." 

External links


In memoriam Anthony Minghella


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