Indian actor Jaffrey, known for 'Gandhi' and others, dies

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2015 10:04 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — Saeed Jaffrey, an Indian actor acclaimed for his roles in international films including "Gandhi," ''A Passage to India" and "My Beautiful Laundrette," has died at age 86.

His death was announced by his niece, Shaheen Agarwal, on Facebook on Sunday.

A statement issued by his family on Monday said he passed away peacefully on Saturday at a London hospital. "Jaffrey had collapsed at his London residence from a brain haemorrhage and never regained consciousness," it said.

Jaffrey worked with actors including Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Roshan Seth, James Ivory, Richard Attenborough and Daniel Day-Lewis.

His other international films included "The Jewel in the Crown," ''Chicken Tikka Masala," ''The Man Who Would Be King" and "Death on the Nile."

In a tweet on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Jaffrey as "a multifaceted actor whose flair and versatility will always be remembered."

Jaffrey started his career at state-run All India Radio before moving to the United States as a Fulbright scholar and studying drama at the Catholic University of America, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

He was the first Indian to take Shakespearean plays on a tour to the United States. He later quit the tour to marry his first wife, Madhur Jaffrey, an Indian-born actress, food and travel writer and television personality. He had three children with her before getting divorced in 1965.

He married his second wife, Jennifer, in 1980 and she was at his side at the hospital.

Jaffrey launched his Bollywood career in the 1980s with roles in popular movies such as "Masoom (Innocent)," Satyajit Ray's "Shatranj Ke Khiladi (Chess Players)" and "Henna." He worked with several top Bollywood actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit.

Jaffrey was the first Indian to receive the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to drama.

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Associated Press writer Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to show that Jaffrey died on Saturday instead of Sunday.