Film director and newspaper columnist Michael Winner has died, aged 77, after long illness.

his wife Geraldine has confirmed.

Winner was born in Hampstead, London in 1935, and went on to direct films including Scorpio and Death Wish before finding fame forĀ  his barbed restaurant reviews, written for The Sunday Times under the banner “Winner’s Dinners”.

Winner had been ill for some time. Last summer, he said liver specialists had given him 18 months to live.

Paying tribute to her husband, his wife Geraldine said in a statement: “Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous. A light has gone out in my life.”

Winner began his career as a journalist and film critic before joining Motion Pictures Limited as a writer and editor in 1956. His first work as a director was satirical but he became more well known for his action films, especially the violent Death Wish series, starring Charles Bronson.

In later years, he also directed a series of commercials for an insurance company featuring the catchphrase “calm, down dear!”

Shorts

The Square (1956)
This is Belgium (1956)
Man with a Gun (1958)
It’s Magic (1958)
Danger, Women at Work (1959)
Floating Fortress (1959) (associate producer)
Girls, Girls, Girls! (1961) (directed and written by)
Haunted England (1961)
Behave Yourself (1961)

Feature films

Shoot to Kill (1960)
Some Like It Cool (1961)
Old Mac (1961)
Out of the Shadow (1961)
Play it Cool (1962)
The Cool Mikado (1962)
West 11 (1963)
The System (1964)
You Must Be Joking! (1965)
The Jokers (1967)
I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname (1967)
Hannibal Brooks (1969)
The Games (1970)
Lawman (1971)
The Nightcomers (1972)
Chato’s Land (1972)
The Mechanic (1972)
Scorpio (1973)
The Stone Killer (1973)
Death Wish (1974)
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
The Sentinel (1977)
The Big Sleep (1978)
Firepower (1979)
Death Wish II (1982)
The Wicked Lady (1983)
Scream for Help (1984)
Death Wish 3 (1985)
A Chorus of Disapproval (1988)
Appointment With Death (1988)
Bullseye! (1990)
Dirty Weekend (1993)
Parting Shots (1999)