(USA TODAY) -- As a director and producer, Richard Attenborough specialized in illustrating the real world on the big screen.
Yet to millions of American moviegoers, Attenborough was the welcoming face and voice of a distant world.
Film fans worldwide lost both Sunday when the Oscar-winning filmmaker died Sunday. He was 90.
Though he would win two Oscars for 1982's biopic Gandhi, which earned best picture and best director Academy Awards, Attenborough became better known for his role as John Hammond in 1993's Jurassic Park, a role he would reprise in 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Still, Attenborough was hardly a late bloomer to Hollywood. The Cambridge-born filmmaker spent more than 60 years as actor, director and producer exploring racism, war, apartheid and inner demons in movies that included The Great Escape in 1963,Cry Freedom in 1987 and Chaplin in 1992. Other roles would include The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966) and Doctor Dolittle (1967), the last two of which would earn him Golden Globe awards for supporting roles.
Yet it was his turn as the brilliant-but-naive Jurassic Park creator catapulted him to American stardom. The performance was his first acting assignment in 13 years, and would prompt him to revive his acting career; he would go on to star in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet and in Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth.
And despite a stroke that sapped his health, Attenborough never lost his love of filmmaking. In May 2012 he teamed with Martin Scorsese and Anthony Haas to develop the film Silver Ghost, a drama on the founding of Rolls Royce. Attenborough was to direct, but his declining health pushed back the production, now scheduled for a 2016 release.
Throughout, Attenborough's mission as filmmaker never changed.
And notables in film as well as world leaders recognized that Sunday as they tweeted their thoughts on his passing. British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote, "Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema."
Actress Mia Farrow, who worked with Attenborough in the 1964 film Guns at Batisi, tweeted, "Richard Attenborough was the kindest man I have ever had the privilege of working with. A Prince."
"I have no interest in being remembered as a great creative filmmaker," Attenborough once said. "I want to be remembered as a storyteller."
He will be remembered as both.