Anthony Minghella, the Oscar-winning director of The English Patient, has died aged 54, his agent has said.

Minghella's movie directing career commenced with the 1990 romance Truly, Madly, Deeply, starring Julia Stevenson and Alan Rickman, and he won the best director Oscar in 1996 for his adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient.

Director Lord Puttnam told the BBC Minghella was a "great guy" and said he did "more than most" for UK film, especially in his role as chairman of the British Film Institute.

Minghella, who also directed The Talented Mr Ripley and Cold Mountain, had recently teamed up with Blackadder creator Richard Curtis for an adaptation of the bestselling novel The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Minghella called the production of the film, a Mirage Enterprises production in association with the BBC and The Weinstein Company, an "amazing adventure".

"Particularly fascinating to me was working and filming in an African country where old and new are currently co-existing, where traditional values have not yet been eroded by the demands and efficiencies and neuroses of The Modern," he added.

"It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa and not what we think we can teach it."

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency screens on BBC1 at 21:00 GMT on Sunday March 23rd.

More to follow...

18/03/2008 13:40:17