You may have heard of Richard Attenborough, the acclaimed actor, director and producer who won two Oscars for his epic film Gandhi. You may also have heard of David Attenborough, the beloved broadcaster, naturalist and author who has narrated countless documentaries about the wonders of the natural world. But are these two men related? And if so, how?
The Family Background
The answer is yes, Richard Attenborough and David Attenborough share a close family relationship as brothers. They were born to the same parents, Frederick Levi Attenborough and Mary Attenborough (née Clegg), making them siblings by blood
Frederick was a scholar and academic administrator who was a fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and wrote a standard text on Anglo-Saxon law. Mary was a founding member of the Marriage Guidance Council, a charity that provides counselling and support for couples
The Attenboroughs had three sons: Richard, David and John. Richard was the eldest, born on 29 August 1923 in Cambridge. David was the youngest, born on 8 May 1926 in Isleworth, Middlesex. John was the middle child, born on 13 November 1924 in Leicester. He became a motor executive and died in 2012
The Career Paths
Richard and David both developed a passion for the arts and sciences from an early age. Richard was fascinated by cinema and theatre, while David was interested in animals and nature. They both pursued their respective fields with great success and recognition.
Richard started his acting career on stage, appearing in plays such as Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which has since become the world’s longest-running play. He then moved on to film, starring in classics such as Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Jurassic Park and Miracle on 34th Street. He also became a renowned director and producer, making films such as Oh! What a Lovely War, A Bridge Too Far, Cry Freedom and Gandhi, for which he won two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. He was also a political activist and a life peer, serving in the House of Lords. He died on 24 August 2014 at the age of 90
David started his broadcasting career at the BBC, where he worked as a producer and presenter of various programmes, such as Zoo Quest, Civilisation and The Ascent of Man. He then became the controller of BBC Two and the director of programming for BBC Television, introducing colour television to Britain. He later returned to his natural history roots, writing and presenting the nine documentary series forming the Life collection, a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth. He also narrated other series, such as The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet. He has won numerous awards, including BAFTA, Emmy and Kalinga prizes, and has been knighted and honoured with various titles and degrees. He is still active and working at the age of 97
The Brotherly Bond
Despite their different careers and busy schedules, Richard and David maintained a close and supportive bond throughout their lives. They often visited each other, exchanged letters and phone calls, and collaborated on some projects. For example, Richard narrated David’s documentary The Tribal Eye, and David appeared in Richard’s film Chaplin
They also shared some common interests and values, such as their love for nature, their concern for the environment, their respect for human rights and their opposition to war. They both supported various charities and causes, such as the World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
They also faced some tragedies and challenges together, such as the death of their parents, their wives and their niece. Richard’s daughter Jane and her daughter Lucy were killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, while David’s wife Jane died of a brain haemorrhage in 1997. They both expressed their grief and comforted each other in these difficult times
Richard Attenborough and David Attenborough are indeed related, as they are brothers by blood. They both have had remarkable and influential careers in the fields of cinema and natural history, respectively. They also have had a strong and loving relationship, supporting and inspiring each other throughout their lives. They are both icons of British culture and global humanity, and their legacy will live on for generations to come