It was a weekend of double triumph for Richard Attenborough.
As “Jurassic Park,” in which he stars, was raking in $ 50 million at the U.S. box office, the British actor/director was transformed from Sir Richard to Lord Attenborough in the Queen’s latest honors list.
The award of a life peerage — the title will not be passed on when he dies — is recognition as much for decades of tireless public service as for his list of movie credits. This includes the Oscar-winning “Gandhi” and most recently “Chaplin” as a director, and classics like “Brighton Rock” as an actor.
Over the past 15 years, Attenborough became the leading campaigner on behalf of the beleaguered British film industry, lobbying the government to increase its limited financial support.
He recently stepped down as chairman of the British Film Institute and of Channel 4, but he remains involved as chairman, president or patron in over 30 organizations, including the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Muscular Dystrophy Group.
The life peerage at last gives him a little bit of real political power to go with his massive influence and commitment. It gives him a seat and a vote in the House of Lords, the upper chamber of Britain’s parliament.
His appearance in “Jurassic Park” was his first acting job in 13 years. He is currently directing “Shadowlands” in London, a film based on the relationship between author C.S. Lewis and his American wife.