Om Puri (1950 - 2017)

Om Puri, the acclaimed Indian character actor who appeared in hit films including "Gandhi," "City of Joy," and "East Is East," died Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, of a heart attack in Mumbai, India, according to multiple news sources. He was 66.

Puri appeared in a variety of British, American, and Indian films, from mainstream movies to independent releases.


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Om Prakesh Puri was born Oct. 18, 1950, in Ambala, India. After graduating from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Puri made his film debut in 1976's "Ghashiram Kotwai." He continued working in film and television right up to the time of his death.

In addition to his film work in India, Puri appeared in many British and American film and TV shows. Credits include a small role in Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi," as well as roles in "Wolf," "The Jewel in the Crown," "City of Joy," "Charlie Wilson's War," and "The Hundred -Foot Journey."

"I have my emotional moorings in Indian cinema," he said in 1997, "but I look to the foreign scene for artistic satisfaction and money."

Tributes to the actor by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fellow actors, and the founder of Khan Academy flooded social media Friday.

"So sad. Lost one of the most iconic Actors, RIP Om Puri ji," wrote Khan Academy founder Salman Khan on Twitter.

"The artists will all miss him and it's a big loss to the industry," said film director Prakash Jha. "His name was taken along the great artists of the world, not just India."

In 1990, Puri received the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award. In 2004, he was designated an honorary officer of the Order of the British Empire.

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