Bryan Forbes, who directed the original Stepford Wives, Whistle Down The Wind and International Velvet, has died at the age of 86.
Born John Theobald Clarke in 1926, he always intended to become an actor and trained at RADA, though he didn’t finish his studies. Devoting himself to military service for three years, he got his first screen credit in 1949’s Hour Of Glory, and became a working performer.
At the same time he began to write screenplays, contributing to films such as The Black Knight, and he was the sole writer on 1955’s The Cockleshell Heroes.
With his ambitions stretching beyond acting and writing, Forbes founded Beaver Films with friend and regular collaborator Richard Attenborough, where they made 1960’s The Angry Silence (with Forbes writing and Attenborough starring) among several others.
Beaver Films was also behind Forbes’ first shot at directing with 1961’s Whistle Down The Wind, which scored four BAFTA nominations. Among his other works were Séance On A Wet Afternoon, The League Of Gentlemen (whose title inspired Mark Gatiss and colleagues to name their comedy troupe in tribute) The Wrong Box, King Rat and the screenplay for Chaplin. He also brought The Stepford Wives to life in scary form back in 1975.
The stalwart West Ham fan and CBE was married twice, wedding Nanette Newman in 1955. He’s survived by Newman and daughters Sarah Standing and Emma Forbes.