Film director James Cameron has apologised to the family of a TITANIC officer he portrayed as a coward in his award-winning epic.

First Officer WILLIAM McMASTER MURDOCH is depicted taking a bribe from a passenger desperate to get into a lifeboat in the OSCAR-winning movie before committing suicide after accidentally shooting some third-class passengers dead.

However, eyewitness reports of the disaster insist Murdoch was a hero during the desperate hours before the liner sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

And now Cameron has issued a public apology to Murdoch's furious relatives, who had contacted him twice to complain about the script before the movie was released in 1999.

Cameron says, "I think I have come to the realisation that it was probably wrong to portray a specific person, in this case First Officer Murdoch, as the one who fired the weapon.

"First Officer Murdoch has a family and they took exception to that, and I think rightly so."

22/07/2004 13:18