Attenborough and wife in a care home

Attenborough and wife in a care home

Film director Richard Attenborough has moved into a care home with wife because of his failing health. The 89-year-old, who won eight Oscars for his...

Film director Richard Attenborough has moved into a care home with wife because of his failing health. The 89-year-old, who won eight Oscars for his 1982 epic Gandhi, has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke five years ago.A But he has now become too unwell to care for himself and has joined his wife, actress Sheila Sim, in a specialist charity care home for elderly or sick entertainers in west London. The couple have sold their home, in Richmond upon Thames, south-west London, for A�11.5million. The director's brother, naturalist Sir David Attenborough, 86, said it 'simply wasn't practical' for them to keep it. Lord Attenborough's son Michael, 63, added: 'The truth is that for over 15 months my mother and father have been living in a home for elderly people specifically from the theatrical profession, which my parents helped to run for many years. 'As a consequence, they recently sold their Richmond home.' Lord Attenborough spent several days in a coma after his stroke in 2008. He joked at the time: 'I scared the living daylights out of Sheila, had some time in hospital. They were all fussing around.' But his family said he has never fully recovered and continues to struggle to communicate and move around. Describing the accident in a 2011 interview, Sir David said: 'He fell downstairs and damaged his brain, so was unconscious for a long time. He's now back, but he's in a wheelchair. 'You can have a conversation with him. I go down and see him at the weekend. We have our jokes, the ones we've had since we were kids.' The couple met at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London when they co-starred in a production of The Lady With The Lamp. Lord Attenborough later recalled: 'I had the lead male role opposite three Florence Nightingales. One of them was a girl called Sheila Sim � she was stunningly attractive, without any airs or graces. Over rehearsals we got to know each other and embarked on an old-fashioned courtship. 'Until I asked her recently, I couldn't remember how or when I asked Sheila to marry me. She informed me that while we were at Rada I'd asked every day, first thing in the morning. 'But we both knew we were playing a game and it was far too early to settle down.' He added: 'Both our careers took off in the immediate post-war years as the whole population went crazy over a crop of young film stars.A 'It wasn't to do with acting or talent. We just happened to be in the right place at a time when the public wanted an escape from years of austerity.' He went on to enjoy a hugely successful career as an actor and director, gathering 74 acting credits after appearing in 1942 war film In Which We Serve, directed by Noel Coward. He also starred in Jurassic Park, Miracle on 34th Street, Elizabeth, Brighton Rock and Flight of the Phoenix.A He made his directorial debut with 1969 musical Oh! What a Lovely War, following it up with Oscar-winning epic Gandhi in 1982. His 1987 film Cry Freedom, starring Denzel Washington, told the story of anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko. They had a son and two daughters, but their elder daughter Jane and her daughter Lucy were killed in the South Asian tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004. OPINION
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