The summer of 2014 is winding down and just when we thought the deluge of bad news may come to an end, we hear that Lord Richard Attenborough has died at age 90. Variety did a nice writeup of his decades of accomplishments in theatre and film that I urge you to read, but I just wanted to give a shout out to the man who brought to life an important character of my youth: Dr. John Hammond.
Like most people in their 30’s, Jurassic Park was a monumental movie experience. I saw the movie in the theatre on my 10th birthday and smiled, ooh-ed and ahh-ed for about 90minutes straight. Probably screamed once or twice, but it was my mom who leapt out of her seat at the infamous “I think we’re back in business!” scene.
While all the characters were engaging for their own reasons, it was the childlike enthusiasm of Dr. Hammond that was both engaging and challenging to me as a kid, and Attenborough’s performance continues to captivate me to this day. He brought a sense of wonderment and genuine affection that perfectly clashed with his hubris and willful ignorance. You couldn’t help but love him and pity him in a way that maybe a 10yr old and a 30yr old understand in different ways, but understand nonetheless. With one of my favorite scenes from Jurassic Park I bid adieu to Attenborough. You did a whole lot more than just play a guy who talked about Dino DNA, but you’ll always be Dr. Hammond to me. #sparednoexpense