As a passionate Chelsea FC fan Richard Attenborough could not resist showing off his club to some of his showbiz pals.
Hollywood greats such as John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, and British film and screen legends including Laurence Olivier and John Mills faced his charming attempts to turn them in to Chelsea fans, the club said.
Stunned Chelsea players were “amazed” when he brought his friend, actor Steve McQueen, to Stamford Bridge. The pair starred in 1963 war classic The Great Escape.
The club recalled in a statement: “Few of his show business friends escaped an attempt at indoctrination at Stamford Bridge.
“He shared his love of the club not just with English stars such as Laurence Olivier and John Mills, but brought Hollywood’s greatest to the grandstands including John Wayne and Frank Sinatra.
“The Chelsea players were amazed when he introduced Steve McQueen into the dressing room at the height of his fame. The club’s indelible association with such glamour is, to a huge degree, his doing.”
Lord Attenborough was made a life president at the club.
The tribute statement adds: “He led a long and successful life and always found time for the things in life he loved most, one of which was Chelsea FC.
“Renowned throughout the world for his work in cinema which honoured him with awards for acting, directing and producing, football – and Chelsea in particular – was never far from his thoughts.
“His personality was woven into the tapestry of the club over seven decades. He was a consistent force for good at the club, even in dark times.
“He was a club director during the glamorous, trophy-winning seasons of the early 1970s and a decade later helped keep the club at Stamford Bridge when our stadium came under serious threat from property development.”