The Oscar winning director enjoyed a career spanning five decades in film, television and the stage and was famous for his work on Broadway. His film work included Mary Poppins and The Whiz.His death was confirmed by his daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, whom he shared with ex-wife Julie Andrews.
Simon Cowell has admitted he 'got really nervous' about filming Britain's Got Talent auditions last year, before pulling the plug on the series as the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc.
The ITV show's creator, 62, who looks strikingly different in new shots after ditching botox ahead of its return, revealed he soon called off production plans just 'two or three weeks' before they were due to commence since the 'risk to everyone was too high'.
And as he returns to his role as head judge for the upcoming 15th series, the music mogul has claimed being back with a full audience at the London Palladium is 'the best feeling' and feels 'incredible'.
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He said: 'Yeah, it was hard but I’ve got to be honest, because of what was happening at the time, which was the new variant had come out, I got really nervous about it. We were about two or three weeks out from auditions and I just thought, "We can’t do this, the risk to everyone is too high."
'So it was tough, but I knew it was the right thing to do because it wasn’t like the show was never going to come back. We always knew it would come back this year and it would come round quickly, which it did.
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'So I missed it but I had no choice. I hope that break, having not had it on air for a year, that the audience.
'As much as I didn’t want to not make the show last year, we just couldn’t at that point, it would have been literally impossible. We had to stop it at the last moment, it was a difficult decision to make but it was the right one.
'I think off the back of that, when we did all get back together, I think we realised how much we enjoy making the show. We did miss each other, we get on and work well together.'
Enthusiastic about the competition taking place in front of a live crowd again, he gushed: 'It made such a difference. You only have to see the reaction from everyone during auditions to realise what this show means to people. I think this show is a reminder that there is more that unites us than divides us.
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'It literally is that, everyone gets on, everyone was optimistic. It felt happy and fun, that was something that was really important this year after lockdown and what we’ve all been through. The show had to come back as a fun show, it’s what we’ve all missed. There’s nothing else like it on TV.
'So, I really feel like everything we set out to do, we’ve achieved. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s everything I wanted and there was just this real sense of relief and fun. It was incredible.
Wow! Britain's Got Talent is set to return to screens after two years off the air and a jam-packed teaser trailer saw a Simon Cowell impersonator grace the stage and David Walliams (left) get involved in routines (Amanda, centre, Alesha, right)
Double act: Ant McPartlin (left) and Dec Donnelly (right) are returning as hosts and are set to be as entertaining as ever as they stand on the sidelines during performances
When asked about interacting with onlookers at the iconic London theatre, he replied: 'It’s just the best feeling. You don’t realise how important the audience is until you don’t have one. Then having them back was incredible.
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'It’s really hard to make this show without an audience. We always say they are the fifth judge, they really are because a lot of the time we base our decision on the audience, when they love someone we’re more inclined to say yes, when they’re quiet we’re more inclined to say no.
'So they really do hold a lot of power on this show. There’s something special watching and feeling the audience reaction to an act when they realise they are seeing something special. It’s the best feeling.'
Britain's Got Talent is set to return to screens after two years off the air and a jam-packed teaser trailer saw a Simon Cowell impersonator grace the stage and David Walliams get involved in routines.
The latest series of the ITV talent show is set to feature magic tricks, a person dressed as a dinosaur, dance troupes and musical performances that are sure to entertain.
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Regular judges Simon, David, Amanda and Alesha are back to put the acts through their paces while Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly return as hosts.
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A fun-filled teaser trailer was released on Thursday and saw a Simon impersonator take to the stage wearing a red fringed bodysuit in an act bound to leave the judge, 62, gobsmacked.
Elsewhere, David was seen looking squeamish as he took to the stage to assist a circus performer in pulling a heart shaped sword out of her throat.
The comedian, 50, also appeared to strip off on stage, taking off his shirt in front of an elderly woman, in a bizarre moment.
Other acts included a team of skateboarders performing stunts, singers belting their hearts out and gymnasts performing jaw-dropping routines.
At the time they said: 'With our absolute priority of safeguarding the well-being and health of every person involved in the programme from judges, hosts and contestants to all of the crew and audience, the decision has been made to – unfortunately – move the record and broadcast of the 15th series of Britain's Got Talent to 2022.
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UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) bosses logged another 32,608 positive tests over the last 24 hours, down 30.8 per cent in a week. Daily hospitalisation figures show pressure is continuing to ease on hospitals, with the number of virus admissions falling 14 per cent week-on-week to 1,958 on the most recent date on April 10. However, Covid fatality figures, which along with hospital numbers lag two to three weeks behind the trend in cases, are continuing to creep up. A further 350 virus deaths were logged, up by a tenth in a week.
'BGT is known for its diversity of talent with big dance groups, wonderful choirs and lavish orchestras at its heart, and it has become clear that not only is it not possible to film auditions with these types of acts in a secure way but also that they are not able to adequately rehearse and prepare safely.
They finished: 'Safety has to come first and, as a result, the recording of the show can't currently go ahead as planned.'
Last month, Amanda revealed that Simon is planning a permanent move back to the UK – and insisted that he isn't quitting TV.
The Heart Breakfast presenter, 51, says music mogul Simon, 62, who resides between California and London, is 'aiming to spend more time at home' now fiancée Lauren Silverman's son Adam is 'growing up' and she's become an 'adopted Brit.'
In an exclusive interview, Amanda, who sits on the Britain's Got Talent judging panel alongside close pal Simon, says he's still 'hungry' for success but is keen to enjoy family life as he plans his upcoming wedding to Lauren.
Amanda told MailOnline: 'He is amazing and him and Lauren are in the best space.
'We had a lovely family lunch together on Sunday and he's very, very chilled and knows exactly what he wants from life now – he's not retiring by any means.
'He is full of ideas and has some amazing ideas on the back-burner. It is in Simon's blood, it is terminal, the hunger, the creativity, maybe in the end Simon won't be on camera but he's always going to be involved. He just wants to reap some of the things that he's sown and enjoy life a bit better.
'They're going to be aiming to spend some more time in the UK, which is really nice for me.'
Britain's Got Talent returns to ITV on Saturday April 16 at 8pm.