Hugh Hudson, ‘Chariots of Fire’ Director, Dead at 86

Hugh Hudson, ‘Chariots of Fire’ Director, Dead at 86
Hugh Hudson attends the 'Chariots Of Fire' UK Film Premiere at Empire Leicester Square in London on July 10, 2012. (Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

LONDON—Hugh Hudson, a British filmmaker who debuted as a feature director with the Oscar-winning Olympics drama “Chariots of Fire” and later made such well-regarded movies as “My Life So Far” and the Oscar-nominated “Greystoke,” has died at age 86.

Hudson’s family issued a brief statement announcing that he died Friday at a hospital in London “after a short illness.”

A London native, Hudson started out as a documentary editor and producer and also worked in television advertising before finding work in feature films in the late 1970s as a second-unit director on Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express.” In 1981, producer David Puttnam asked Hudson to direct “Chariots of Fire,” which starred Ben Cross and Nigel Havers as British athletes of contrasting religions and backgrounds at the 1924 Olympics.

With its inspirational plot and sentimental theme music by the Greek composer Vangelis, “Chariots of Fire” was a solid commercial success and won four Academy Awards, including best picture and score. Hudson, a nominee for director, later helped produce a stage adaptation of “Chariots” that was timed for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

He had mixed success with future movie projects. “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,” a 1984 movie featuring Ralph Richardson in his final movie role, was a box office success that received three Oscar nominations. But two years later, he was a nominee for a Golden Raspberry for directing the critical and commercial flop “Revolution.” His other credits included “My Life So Far,” “Lost Angels,” and “Altamira.” He also co-wrote “Tiger’s Nest,” a 2022 release.

According to his family’s statement, Hudson is survived by his wife, Maryam, his son, Thomas, and his first wife, Sue.

Hugh Hudson
Hugh Hudson appears at the Chariots of Fire Great British Premiere in London on July 10, 2012. (Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)