Aside from the dinosaurs, Jeff Goldblum, and the general awesomeness, we lost one of our favorite parts of Jurassic Park over the weekend. Lord Richard Attenborough, who fans will remember as the billionaire would-be theme park mogul John Hammond, passed away at the age of 90 (less than a week before the odometer was to turn over to 91). Though he wasn’t set to appear in the upcoming Jurassic World (his health has been steadily failing for some time), he was a vital part of the franchise, and the new film memorialized him.
Last night, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) tweeted this photo of what appears to be a part of the film’s set. It makes sense that the park, which in the new movie has finally opened to the public, would pay homage to Hammond, its visionary founder and the man who was the driving force, but it is also serves as an eerily prescient memorial to Attenborough (or perhaps not that eerie, after all, the man was very old and not in particularly good health). It’s difficult to look at this image and not immediately recall the very similar one of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, which is likely the entire point behind this, though there is an added layer of meaning now.
The official Jurassic World Twitter account also offered up this touching remembrance of the man who meant so much to the franchise:
In remembrance of Richard Attenborough. His life found a way to touch the hearts, minds & imaginations of the world. pic.twitter.com/Hgock5RwwD
— #JurassicWorld (@JurassicPark) August 25, 2014
Modern audiences primarily know him as the twinkle-eyed dinosaur enthusiast from Jurassic Park and the sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, or possibly as Kris Kringle in the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street, where he oddly enough utilized many of the same elements. Still, he had an acting career that dated all the way back to 1942, when he appeared in Noel Coward’s war drama In Which We Serve, and won the most acclaim as a director.
Gandhi earned him multiple Oscars at the 1982 Academy Awards, and he turned out numerous other notable biopics as well. Cry Freedom, a true life look at South African apartheid followed in 1987, as did Chaplin in 1992, and Shadowlands, the dramatization of the life of author C.S. Lewis, in 1993.
In the years following a stroke in 2008 where he suffered a serious fall, Attenborough’s health had been gradually sliding downhill. Finally, last year, he moved into a nursing home that was able to provide the round the clock care he had come to require. He is survived by his wife of more than 70 years, children, grandchildren, and even a great grandchild.
Jurassic World opens everywhere on June 12, 2015.