19 MARCH 2008

Jude Law has paid tribute to his mentor, the late Anthony Minghella. Perhaps more than anyone else, the actor owed the finest moments of his career to the British filmmaker.

The director - who died on Tuesday aged 54 after suffering a haemorrhage following a throat operation - is best known for his work on Oscar-winning war romance The English Patient, starring Ralph Fiennes.

Yet it was the partnership with Jude, the lead in three of his films, including The Talented Mr Ripley and Cold Mountain, that came to define both their professional lives.

After hearing the sad news the Hollywood star praised him as a director who "made work feel like fun".

Added Jude: "He was a sweet, warm, bright and funny man who was interested in everything from football to opera, films, music, literature, people and, most of all, his family, to whom I send my thoughts and love."

Meanwhile, Jude's Cold Mountain co-star Nicole Kidman released a statement through her publicist, speaking of her devastation. "He was a gift to the world", said the Australian actress.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Cold Mountain actors Jude and Nicole, seen here with the British director at the film's premiere in 2003, praised his warmth and intelligence Photo: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
In 1997 Anthony's film The English Patient won nine Academy Awards, including his own best director trophyPhoto: © Getty Images
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