British screenwriter Colin Welland has died at the age of 81, according to the BBC. Welland’s big screen credits included 1979’s Richard Gere-starring Yanks, 1989’s A Dry White Season, and 1981’s Chariots of Fire, the story of two athletes at the 1924 Olympics for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Welland was also an actor, whose face became familiar to film and television audiences in the UK thanks to his roles on the police show Z Cars, Ken Loach’s much-beloved 1969 film Kes, and writer Dennis Potter’s 1979 television play Blue Remembered Hills. He also appeared in Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 film, Straw Dogs.
Welland suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died in his sleep.
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Actor David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, Red Riding) has paid tribute to Welland. “Colin Welland RIP,” he wrote on Twitter. “Such a great actor and writer. Kes is my all time favorite film and he was so wonderful in it. So sad.”