Film producer Simon Channing Williams passed away of cancer on Saturday, at home with his family in Cornwall. He was 63 years old.
Channing Williams began his career at the BBC where he worked with, among others Stephen Frears, James MacTaggart, Mike Newell, Michael Apted and Mike Leigh with whom he went on to produce 11 films. Channing Williams and Leigh formed Thin Man Films in 1988, producing Palme D’Or winner “Secrets & Lies,” Academy Award winner “Topsy-Turvy,” Golden Lion winner “Vera Drake,” and many others. Last year’s critically-acclaimed “Happy-Go-Lucky” was their final production.
Outside his relationship with Mike Leigh and Thin Man Films, Simon Channing Williams produced a number of other films, including Tony Palmer’s “Puccini,” Clive Rees’ “When The Whales Came,” Tim Sullivan’s “Jack and Sarah,” and Nick Love’s debut “Goodbye Charlie Bright.” In 2000, he formed the independent production company Potboiler Productions with Gail Egan. Together they produced seven feature films including Douglas McGrath’s “Nicholas Nickleby” and Fernando Meirelles’ “The Constant Gardener.”
Channing Williams was instrumental in setting up The Constant Gardener Trust, which is building a secondary school in the desert town of Loiyangalani 600 km north of Nairobi. The school will be completed by the end of 2009. The Trust were the first to build wash blocks and lavatories in the Nairobi slum of Kibera and installed three 10,000- litre water towers. In recognition of his services to the community, Channing Williams was made an Elder of Loiyangalani and, in December 2007, he received Kenya’s Order of the Grand Warrior from President Kibaki in honour of his work on both the film ‘The Constant Gardener’ film and the trust established in its name.
Channing Williams is survived by his wife Annie, five children (three with his second wife Dorothy King, two with Annie) and five grandchildren.
The family have requested that in lieu of other tributes, donations may be made to the Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign: http://www.royalmarsden.org/Campaign/Home/