John Brabourne, 80, the British producer of "A Passage to India" and a survivor of an Irish Republican Army bomb attack in 1979, died Sept. 22 at his home in Kent, England. No cause of death was reported.
The bombing incident on a fishing boat killed his father-in-law, World War II hero Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India before it gained independence from Britain. Also killed were Mr. Brabourne's mother, Doreen, the Dowager Lady Brabourne; Brabourne's 14-year-old son, Nicholas; and a crew member, Paul Maxwell.
Mr. Brabourne, his wife, the Countess Patricia Mountbatten of Burma, and Nicholas's twin brother, Timothy -- the only other passengers -- were badly injured.
Mr. Brabourne, a former chairman of Thames Television, received praise for producing movies with all-star casts based on author Agatha Christie's murder mysteries, including "Murder on the Orient Express" in 1974 with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and Sean Connery; "Death on the Nile" in 1978 with Peter Ustinov, Bette Davis and David Niven; "The Mirror Crack'd" in 1980 with Elizabeth Taylor; and "Evil Under the Sun" in 1982 with Roddy McDowall and James Mason.
He was also known for filming classics, including Shakespeare's "Othello" with Laurence Olivier in 1965 and "Romeo and Juliet" in 1968.
But he received particular attention in Hollywood for his tenacity in making the grand-scale "A Passage to India," directed by David Lean. The effort took Brabourne and his producing partner, Richard Goodwin, nearly a quarter of a century, prodding Mr. Brabourne in 1985 to call it "the most difficult thing of my life."
The movie, which was released in 1984, received 11 Academy Award nominations and won Oscars for best supporting actress for Peggy Ashcroft and best score for composer Maurice Jarre.
Mr. Brabourne first read E.M. Forster's novel about class struggle in 1928 British-ruled India when he was there in 1957.
Convinced that Forster's novel should be made into a movie, he met with the author a decade later and, with difficulty, persuaded him to sell the rights. But Mr. Brabourne failed to get a written contract. Forster died in 1969, leaving the rights to Kings College, Cambridge, whose administrators distrusted filmmaking even more than the author.
When the rights finally were secured, Mr. Brabourne faced another long battle to get the then-pricey $17.5 million in financing. Columbia Pictures ultimately paid about half the cost.
He was born John Ulick Knatchbull on Nov. 9, 1924, in Bombay, where his father was governor and later viceroy of India. The boy spoke Hindi as fluently as he spoke English. At age 10 he was sent to England to be educated at Eton College and later the University of Oxford -- conceding that he often skipped lectures to attend as many as three films a day.
The family title, the seventh baron Brabourne, passed to his elder brother when their father died in 1940 and to Mr. Brabourne after Germans killed his brother in Italy in 1943.
A captain of the Coldstream Guards during World War II, Mr. Brabourne met the Mountbattens when he was assigned as an aide to Mountbatten, then an admiral and supreme Allied commander of Southeast Asia. Mr. Brabourne married Patricia Mountbatten in 1946 in a lavish royal ceremony attended by King George VI.
After his father-in-law eased his entry into the motion picture industry, Mr. Brabourne worked his way up the production ladder.
Survivors include his wife and six children.