Guy Hamilton, the renowned movie director whose take on the James Bond series ushered in the era of Bondmania with his perfect blend of humor and action, has died at 93-years-old.
Guy Hamilton, the director of some of the most famous James Bond films, including Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, and The Man With the Golden Gun, died yesterday at the age of 93 at Hospital Juaneda Miramar on the Spanish island of Majorca, where he lived, reports BBC.
Although Hamilton directed many other films in a career that spanned more than four decades, he was best known for his remarkable contributions to the Bond series. Hamilton added more overt humor to the Bond’s character; a move which would ultimately go on to define Roger Moore’s take on James Bond throughout his tenure as the British spy.
Hamilton was born in on September 16, 1922, to British parents living in France. Despite being born in Paris and spending many of his childhood years in the City of Lights, Hamilton attended school in England. After school, Hamilton returned to France and got a job as the clapper board boy at Victorine Studios in Nice. When World War II began in 1939, Guy Hamilton once again returned to England, and he began working in the film library at Paramount News, although he eventually left that position to join the Royal Navy.
In 1948, Hamilton got his big break in the film industry; working as the first assistant director on The Fallen Idol by famous British filmmaker, Carol Reed. Hamilton worked with Reed on two more films; The Third Man, starring Orson Welles, and Outcast of the Islands, before taking on the role of assistant director for John Huston’s The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Guy Hamilton went on to become a director in his own right, helming such films as An Inspector Calls, The Colditz Story, and The Devil’s Disciple, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Olivier.
According to the New York Times, Guy Hamilton was originally asked to direct the James Bond film, Dr. No, but turned it down. When he was asked to direct Goldfinger in 1964, however, he took the opportunity, although he initially believed the script to be too “Americanized,” according to a 2003 interview. He made a few adjustments to the script to make the villains more believable, and he added his trademark wit to Sean Connery’s Bond. The film would eventually skyrocket Connery to the status of international superstar.
“So I had to make sure all the English scenes became more English. I liked the idea of an intellectual villain. A Bond villain has to be [the] intellectual equal and a worthy opponent of Bond.”
Aside from his mixture of wit and thrills that Hamilton brought to the Bond franchise, he is also credited with many of Bond’s and his nemeses gadgets. In fact, according to Screen Crush, it was Guy Hamilton who decided to put a greater emphasis on the franchise’s gadgetry. The revolving license plate on Bond’s Aston Martin was one of Hamilton’s famous additions, as was the industrial laser with which Auric Goldfinger threatens Bond. In Ian Fleming’s novel, Goldfinger used a circular saw.
Following the news of Guy Hamilton’s death, Roger Moore took to Twitter to express his sadness at the passing of a friend and colleague.
The hospital in Majorca where Hamilton passed away confirmed his death in an email to the Associated Press on Thursday, although no cause of death was given, citing patient confidentiality rules.
Guy Hamilton, the director of four classic James Bond films, was married twice in his lifetime; first to actress Naomi Chance, and then to actress Kerima.
[AP Photo/Michel Euler, FILE]