Pioneering British filmmaker Michael Apted died at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday, January 7, his agent confirmed to the New York Times. Apted was 79, and the cause of death was not specified. Apted was best known for his Up series of documentaries, which followed the lives of 14 British children from across the socioeconomic spectrum beginning at age 7 in 1964, catching up with them in seven-year intervals. As the series progressed, it became a poignant, insightful, and at times heartbreaking depiction of lost youth, individual life struggles, and a changing Britain over six decades. In 2019, ITV aired Apted’s final project, and last work in the Up series, 63 Up. In 2013, Apted told WNYC, “I hope to do 84 Up when I’ll be 99.”
Beyond his work in television documentary, Apted directed several feature films, including Gorillas in the Mist, Nell, and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. One of his most celebrated films, the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, was entered into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2019.