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Richard Attenborough and Steven Spielberg: When 'E.T.' met 'Gandhi,' we got dinosaurs

To those who know their whole history, it may seem surprising that there was never any bad blood between Steven Spielberg and the late Richard Attenborough — unless you want to count the prehistoric kind drawn from those amber-encased mosquitos in Jurassic Park, the one big project they made together.

The two filmmakers, separated in age by more than a generation, were rivals who became collaborators and eventually friends. When Attenborough died at age 90 on Sunday, he left behind a legacy as an actor, director, and philanthropist – but the story of his relationship with Spielberg is evidence of another defining trait: gentleman.

Their complicated camaraderie began after the pair crossed paths at the most critical point in each of their careers — 1982, when Attenborough finally completed his 20-year quest to make the biographical drama Gandhi, and Spielberg finished a deeply personal film that stands as one of the best movies ever made about families: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Those two films couldn’t have been more different, but were destined for eternal comparison after becoming competitors at the 55th Academy Awards.

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