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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Film Director Ingmar Bergman Dies

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, widely regarded as one of the great masters of modern cinema, died Monday, the president of the director's foundation said. He was 89.

Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, confirmed the death, and Swedish journalist Marie Nyrerod said the director died peacefully during his sleep.

Bergman, whose 1982 film "Fanny and Alexander" won an Oscar for best foreign film, made about 60 movies before retiring from film making in 2003.

In his films, Bergman's vision encompassed all the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, the gentle merriment of glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years.

Bergman first gained international attention with 1955's "Smiles of a Summer Night," a romantic comedy that inspired the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Little Night Music." His last work was "Saraband," a made-for-television movie that aired on Swedish public television in December 2003.

The son of a Lutheran clergyman and a housewife, Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born in Uppsala, Sweden, on July 14, 1918, and grew up with a brother and sister in a household of severe discipline that he described in painful detail in the autobiography "The Magic Lantern."

The title comes from his childhood, when his brother got a "magic lantern" -- a precursor of the slide-projector -- for Christmas. Ingmar was consumed with jealousy, and he managed to acquire the object of his desire by trading it for a hundred tin soldiers.

The apparatus was a spot of joy in an often-cruel young life. Bergman recounted the horror of being locked in a closet and the humiliation of being made to wear a skirt for wetting his pants.

The director said he had coped with the authoritarian environment of his childhood by living in a world of fantasies.

But he said the escape into another world went so far that it took him years to tell reality from fantasy, and Bergman repeatedly described his life as a constant fight against demons, also reflected in his work.

The world has lost one of its very greatest film makers. He taught us all so much throughout his life," British actor and director Richard Attenborough said.