Attenborough, Sir David Frederick

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Attenborough, Sir David Frederick

Sir David Frederick Attenborough, 1926–, British naturalist and television personality. After serving in the Royal Navy (1947–49), he worked as an editor, then joined the BBC (1952) as a producer of nature shows including the Zoo Quest series, one of the first programs to film animals in the wild. After leaving the BBC in the early 1960s, he studied social anthropology at the London School of Economics, then rejoined the network (1965–72) as controller for BBC Two, producing the series The Ascent of Man and Civilization. He then devoted himself to writing, producing, and narrating nature programs including Life on Earth, which debuted in 1976 and continued for 96 episodes, and the 10-part The Life of Birds (1998); he narrated Wildlife on One (1977–2005) and Planet Earth (2006). His environmental concerns are marked in State of the Planet (2000) and Saving Planet Earth (2007), both of which he wrote and produced. He also has written many books on topics related his television documentaries. Attenborough was knighted in 1985.

See his memoirs (2002).

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