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British theater, film director Peter Brook dies at 97

A portrait of Peter Brook
British theater director Peter Brook during a reception in January 2011 after being awarded the Great Vermeil Medal of Paris.
(Jacques Brinon / Associated Press)

Peter Brook, a British theater and film director known for an influential and distinguished career which saw him garner worldwide acclaim, has died. He was 97.

The two-time Tony Award winner, who had settled in France decades ago, directed the film adaptations of his best stage works as well as the 1963 movie “Lord of the Flies.”

Brook’s publisher, Nick Hern Books, said in a statement Sunday that he “leaves behind an incredible artistic legacy.” French media reports said that Brook died in Paris on Saturday.

Born in London in 1925, Brook would go on to study at Oxford University and direct his first London show, “Doctor Faustus,” while he was still a teenager.

After serving as director of productions at the Royal Opera House, he gained further notoriety through his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including “Titus Andronicus” starring Laurence Olivier.

A tribute to Peter Brook, the pathbreaking British theater director who died at age 97.

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He was a Tony Award winner for direction in 1966 for his interpretation of Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade,” and in 1970 for the production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Brook was also the recipient of an Olivier Award, an Emmy and an International Emmy during his seven-decade career.

After settling in Paris in the 1970s, the director founded the International Center for Theater Research, for which he would regenerate the run-down Bouffes du Nord theater in the French capital.

Worldwide recognition also saw him honored with art prizes including Japan’s Praemium Imperiale, Italy’s Prix Italia, and most recently Spain’s Princess of Asturias in 2019.

British actor Adrian Lester, who worked with Brook across RSC productions of “Hamlet,” tweeted he had been a “giant in our field.”

Brook was married to actress Natasha Parry from 1951 until her death following a stroke in 2015. He is survived by the couple’s two children, Irina and Simon, both of whom are directors.


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