Michael Apted, 'Coal Miner's Daughter' Director, Dead at 79

Michael Apted, the acclaimed British director and documentary filmmaker, has died. Apted was best known for directing the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner's Daughter and the Pierce Brosnan-starring James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. He also directed the follow-up films to Seven Up, a pioneering British documentary series that chronicles 14 British residents' lives.

The Gersh Agency's Roy Ashton confirmed Apted's death to The Hollywood Reporter Friday. Details of his death were not announced. Apted was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors and served as the Director's Guild of America president from 2003 to 2009. In 2005, he won the DGA award for Outstanding Directing - Drama Series for the first episode of HBO's Rome. In 2013, he received the Robert Aldrich lifetime achievement award from the DGA and was named an honorary life member in 2018.

Apted's career began in television in the U.K. He was an assistant to Canadian director Paul Almond during the making of Seven Up, a 1964 film following 14 British children. Apted directed the second film, made seven years later, and directed every subsequent film, mostly the same British residents. The last film made before Apted's death was 63 Up, released in 2019. In 2012, the series received a special Peabody Award.

Between the Up films, Apted dozens of episodes of television and feature films. He made his feature debut with 1972's The Triple Echo. His most acclaimed feature is Coal Miner's Daughter, which made it to the National Film Registry in 2019. Although Apted was unfamiliar with Lynn's work, his outsider point of view made Coal Miner's Daughter a more effective biopic. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars and won Sissy Spacek the Oscar for Best Actress.

Apted's other films include Gory Park, Gorillas in the Mist, Class Action, Nell, Enigma, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In 1999, he directed Brosnan's third 007 movie, The World Is Not Enough. His final feature was Unlocked, a 2017 thriller starring Orlando Bloom and Noomi Rapace.


Apted also loved rock 'n' roll and also directed rock-related films and documentaries. He made Stardust, a 1974 film starring musician David Essex. He won a Grammy for Bring on the Night, a 1985 film about the making of Sting's first solo album. He also directed The Long Way Home, a documentary about Russian musician Boris Grebenshchikov. In 2002, he directed a movie about the Rolling Stones' tour that year, but it was never released. He also made the 1997 film Inspirations, a discussion of the arts featuring David Bowie and pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Apted's more recent TV work includes episodes of Bloodline, Masters of Sex, and Ray Donovan. He is survived by his third wife, Paige, and children James, John, and Lily. His son, sound editor Paul Apted, died in 2014 from colon cancer.