Oscar-Winner Minghella Dies; Critics' Choice: Anthony Minghella at an Awards Ceremony in London Master of the Cinema: Minghella Won the Best Director Oscar for the English Patient. His Other Successes Included the Talented Mr Ripley, Starring Jude Law, and Cold Mountain with Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman

Article excerpt

Byline: LOUISE JURY

OSCAR-WINNING director Anthony Minghella has died aged 54 following ashort illness.

A spokesman for the family said: "Anthony Minghella died this morning atCharing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith.

"He was operated on last week for a growth in his neck and the operation seemedto have gone well. At 5am today he had a fatal haemorrhage." The film-maker wasbehind a string of hit movies including The English Patient and Cold Mountain.His TV adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's best-selling novels about the No1 Ladies' Detective Agency is the centrepiece of BBC1's Easter schedule thisweekend.

Jane Tranter, the BBC's controller of fiction, said the series was"quintessentially Anthony". "It was epic but personal, edgy but with a strongmoral heart and warmth. He was one of the UK's finest writing and directingtalents." Minghella had just stepped down as chairman of the British FilmInstitute but had a packed diary of international engagements.

He also directed opera. English National Opera has revived his production ofMadam Butterfly and was due to announce new plans to work with him next month.

Minghella's sister, Gioia, who was with their parents Gloria and EdwardMinghella at their home in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, said today: "We are afamily in grief. We are all devastated." Fellow film director Lord Puttnamsaid: "Not only was he a fine, fine writer and made the transfer into becominga really excellent director, he was also a really beautiful man. …