Michael Winner, British filmmaker, dead at 77

British filmmaker Michael Winner, best known for the “Death Wish” movies in the 1970s and 80s, died Monday after a long battle with liver disease.

He was 77.

The BBC described Winner as a “flamboyant character” who was seen as both a “visionary” and a “purveyor of violence and sleaze.”

Winner, also an outspoken restaurant critic in The Sunday Times, made more than 30 feature films in a career that spanned more than 50 years and worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and Faye Dunaway, Sky News reported.

The Associated Press said Winner’s most famous work was "Death Wish," which stars the late Charles Bronson as a “law-abiding citizen who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are attacked.”

The movie was considered shocking at the time, but was a commercial success in the United States and Winner went on to direct two more installments.

Monty Python comedian John Cleese was quoted by the AP as saying Winner had been "the dearest, kindest, funniest and most generous of friends. I shall miss him terribly."

His wife of two years, Geraldine, said in a statement: "Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous.

“A light has gone out in my life.”