Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bronson, the Brooding Hard Man of Cinema, Is Dead at 81; DEATH WISH ACTOR WHO DEFIED THE ODDS TO BECOME AN ENDURING SCREEN ICON

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bronson, the Brooding Hard Man of Cinema, Is Dead at 81; DEATH WISH ACTOR WHO DEFIED THE ODDS TO BECOME AN ENDURING SCREEN ICON

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES LANGTON

CHARLES Bronson, the ultimate strong, silent star who appeared in three of the most classic tough guy movies of all time, has died at the age of 81.

The star of The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen and The Great Escape died from pneumonia in a Los Angeles hospital. It was announced early this morning by Bronson's publicist who said his wife, Kim, was at his side. The actor had been ill for several weeks.

Bronson, who admitted his craggy features and gruff manner made him an unlikely Hollywood leading man, once quipped: "I guess I look like a rock quarry that someone has dynamited."

Despite starring roles in mainstream films including The Battle Of The Bulge, Bronson remained outside Hollywood's A-list, only becoming a major international star after leaving the United States.

In Europe, his grizzled looks and gruff manner won him a huge following. In Italy he was known as Il Brutto - the ugly man - and in 1971 he was presented with a Golden Globe as "the most popular actor in the world".

After the Sergio Leone spaghetti western Once Upon A Time In The West became a huge international hit in the same year, he returned to the US in triumph.

Explaining why it had taken him so long to win acceptance by the major studios, he said: "Maybe I'm too masculine.

Maybe I don't look like anybody's ideal."

With British director Michael Winner, he played the most controversial role in his career of more than 60 films, as the vigilante in the Death Wish series.

He played a well-to-do, liberal architect who takes the law into his own hands after thugs kill his wife and rape his daughter.

Critics were mostly appalled after the film's release in 1974, while audiences in crime-plagued cities such as New York cheered as Bronson hunted and executed the "vermin" who had destroyed his family. …

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