Apted died on Thursday (January 7) at his home in Los Angeles, his US agent Roy Ashton confirmed. No cause of death has yet been revealed.
Apted’s Up series began in 1964, where the filmmaker met 14 seven-year-olds from diverse backgrounds. The documentaries went on to chronicle the lives of the British children for more than half a century, and saw Apted checking in with the individuals at seven year periods. The latest Up documentary, 63 Up, was released in 2019.
Elsewhere in his career as a filmmaker, Apted directed 1999 James Bond film The World is Not Enough, Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter and TV shows including Coronation Street.
“Director Michael Apted will always be remembered for the groundbreaking documentary “Up” series,” The Academy wrote on Twitter yesterday (January 8) following news of his passing.
“A past president of the Directors Guild and Academy Governor, he also made many acclaimed feature films, from “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to “The World Is Not Enough.” He will be missed.”
Thomas Schlamme, president of the Directors Guild of America, also joined the tributes, writing: “Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of esteemed director, longtime DGA leader and my friend Michael Apted.
“His legacy will be forever woven into the fabric of cinema,” Schlamme added, referencing Apted’s “steady hand” and “acerbic wit,” calling him a “fearless visionary”.
ITV boss Kevin Lygo also made a statement on behalf of the broadcaster, which aired the Up series, saying: “The ‘Up’ series demonstrated the possibilities of television at its finest in its ambition and its capacity to hold up a mirror to society and engage with and entertain people while enriching our perspective on the human condition.”