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'Blow-Up' star David Hemmings dies at 62

David Hemmings

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LONDON, England (Reuters) -- British actor David Hemmings, renowned for his film roles in the 1960s cult classics "Blow-Up" and "Barbarella," has died suddenly at the age of 62, his agent said on Thursday.

"Sadly, whilst filming in Romania, David Hemmings collapsed suddenly and died of a heart attack," agent Liz Nelson said in a statement.

Hemmings was on the set of the movie "Samantha's Child."

"He had just finished his final shots of the day and was going back to his dressing room, as far as we know," Nelson said.

"He had only recently returned to acting," she added. "He opted for a number of years to work on his own projects, directing and producing."

His wife Lucy was with him on location. Paramedics tried to treat him on the scene but were unable to revive him.

Hemmings won international fame in 1966 as the photographer of sexy models in "Blow-Up," Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's classic portrait of Swinging London.

Two years later he played a fashionably offbeat leading man opposite Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim's "Barbarella." and starred in "The Charge of the Light Brigade," the tale of one of the biggest disasters in British military history.

After his 1960s heyday, Hemmings took up directing but recently returned to acting, most notably playing Cassius in Ridley Scott's Oscar-laden epic "Gladiator." His latest role was opposite Sean Connery in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." He also appeared in the critically lauded British film "Last Orders" (2002).

Hemmings was a professional singer by the age of nine and an exhibited painter at 15. Composer Benjamin Britten wrote several songs for him. He first entered the movie business in 1950.

In the 1970s he moved away from acting, directing several films, including "Just a Gigolo" in 1979.

In the 1980s, he launched another career as a TV director for series like "Magnum P.I.," "Airwolf," "The New Mike Hammer" and "Hawaiian Heat."

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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