David Leland
David Leland Image Credit: X@casarottoramsay

Cambridge: British director and actor David Leland, who rose to international fame with his directorial debut 'Wish You Were Here', has passed away at the age of 82, according to his long-time agency, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, Deadline reported.

Casarotto Ramsay & Associates took to X to announce the news. The post read, "Our beloved client writer and director, David Leland, has passed away. We will miss his incredible talent and warm spirit so much. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. "

He passed away on Christmas Eve (December 24), surrounded by his family, reported Deadline.

Leland's career spans almost five decades. He is best known for scripting two films about British suburban madam Cynthia Payne: the BAFTA-nominated Personal Services in 1987 and the Cannes Film Festival blockbuster Wish You Were Here.

'Wish You Were Here' earned Leland a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay and the FIPRESCI award at Cannes.

He is also known for co-creating the Showtime series 'The Borgias' and giving Pierce Brosnan his first stage experience in Tennessee Williams' 'The Red Devil Battery Sign,' which he directed at The Round House.

"David Leland holds a mighty place in my heart," said 'James Bond' star Pierce Brosnan in a tribute.

"I was just out of the Drama Centre, where David was also an alumnus. It was the thrill of my young lifetime to be cast as McCabe, working with David and Tennessee. David will forever be an essential part of my story and of all who knew and loved him."

"David was a dream to work with," said Neeson, who starred in The Big Man for Leland. "He was a real collaborator; he genuinely loved and admired actors. We formed a close bond. I loved his mischievous sense of humor. You are always in my heart, old friend. See you down the road."

His long-time friend Gilliam added, "The loss of David is very sad. As a friend and as a writer/director, he was always solidly grounded, invariably sensitive, and ruthlessly honest. His 1987 film, Wish You Were Here, is still one of my all-time favorite British films."

Notably, Leland is survived by his wife, four daughters, son, and six grandchildren.