The British director of three James Bond movies, including The Spy Who Loved Me, as well as several other celebrated films, Lewis Gilbert, has died at the age of 97.

Gilbert directed You Only Live Twice, with Sean Connery, then The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, both with Roger Moore, between 1967 and 1979.

The London-born director also made Educating Rita, in 1983, Shirley Valentine, in 1989, and the Oscar-nominated Alfie, in 1966, which kick-started the career of Michael Caine.

Following his death, the director's son, John Gilbert, told the BBC that his father had "died peacefully in his sleep" in Monaco, where he had lived since 1975.

John, who had worked in film with his dad said his father had suffered from dementia and passed away on Friday (23 February).

"He was a wonderful man with a great sense of humour. He was hard-working and we worked on many films together," John added.

Lewis was born in Hackney, east London, in 1920, and became a child actor in the 1930s before directing war films such as Reach for the Sky and Carve Her Name with Pride.

He was made a CBE in 1997 and received a fellowship from the British Film Institute in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to British film.

Gilbert made his final film in 2002 which saw Educating Rita actress Julie Walters star in the comedy Before You Go.

James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to the lauded film-maker saying he made an "enormous contribution" to the British film industry.

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert," they said.

"Lewis was a true gentleman. He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films, directing You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

"His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series."