Award-winning British theater director Howard Davies, whose plays were celebrated in London's West End and on Broadway in New York, has died. He was 71.
His family said in a statement Wednesday that Davies died Tuesday following a short battle with cancer.
In Britain he won the coveted Best Director Laurence Olivier Awards three times for his work on "The Iceman Cometh," ''All My Sons" and "The White Guard." He was nominated three times for prestigious Tony Awards for his work on Broadway.
A National Theatre statement calls him "one of the very greatest" directors of his generation. He directed a remarkable 36 productions at the National Theatre during a 28-year stretch, beginning with Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in 1988.
National Theatre director Rufus Norris said Davies had achieved "almost legendary status" in show business, particularly for his work on American, Russian and Irish plays.
"His reputation among actors, writers, directors and designers alike was beyond question, and has been for so long that his name has become a byword for quality and depth," said Norris.
Davies directed the original Royal Shakespeare Company production of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" which was transferred to Broadway and for which he won the "Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play" in 1987.
Stars from the acting world took to Twitter to express their sadness at Davies' passing.
He had been working on a production of "Wild Honey" at the Hampstead Theatre in north London at the time of his death. The theater said on its website the production will open in December as planned "in respectful memory" of Davies.
While most of his work was well-received, Davies told the Guardian in 2010 that his major regret was working on a revival of "My Fair Lady" on Broadway.
He said he took on the project for the money and that the resulting production was "horrible from beginning to end."
Davies also worked in television, directing James Bond star Daniel Craig in a version of "Copenhagen" and directing the feature film version of "The Secret Rapture," based on the 1988 play he also directed.
"He was a wonderful director, a wholly admirable man and a good friend," said National Theatre director Richard Eyre.
Davies was born in Durham in northeast England and worked at theaters in Bristol and Birmingham early in his career before making his name in London.
He is survived by his wife, actress Clare Holman.