Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson, who lived at Walreddon Manor on the outskirts of Tavistock for many years, has died following a short illness.
A statement released on behalf of his family said: ‘Hugh Hudson, 86, beloved husband and father, died at Charing Cross hospital on 10 February after a short illness.’
Hudson was married to the actor Maryam D’Abo, who starred in the James Bond film The Living Daylights. The family statement said that he was survived by her, his son, Thomas, and his first wife, painter Susan Michie.
Actor Nigel Havers, who starred in Chariots of Fire in 1981, said he was ‘beyond devastated’ that his great friend who he had known for 45 years had died.
‘Chariots of Fire was one of the greatest experiences of my professional life, and, like so many others, I owe much of what followed to him. I shall miss him greatly,’ he said.
The film was nominated for a total of seven Oscars, including best director for Hudson, and won four - best picture, original score, writing and costume design in 1982.
Journalist John Powell from Tavistock who interviewed Hudson after the making of his film about the American Revolution called Revolution in 1985 said: ‘Revolution's main battle scenes were filmed on the area of Dartmoor around Burrator and on the cliff tops near Challaborough Bay in south Devon, where a wooden fort was built.
‘Military extras were recruited from ex-servicemen in the Plymouth area. A lot of the crew were based at the then Moorland Links Hotel on Roborough Down.’
But unlike Chariots of Fire Revolution was not a big box office success, part of the reason being, it is believed, was because Hudson chose to make a film about such an important part of American history near his home in Devon instead of in the US.
The Walreddon Manor estate was later owned by MP Zac Goldsmith, who sold it in 2012 after he turned it into an environmental paradise.