Writer and director Brian Forbes died on Wednesday at the age of 86. Forbes’ films included Whistle Down the Wind and the 1970s horror classic The Stepford Wives.
The director began his film career as an actor and screenwriter. Eventually, he became known as one of the most important figures in British film.
Matthew D’Ancona, a friend of the director’s family, stated that Brian Forbes died surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Virginia Water, Surrey. D’Ancona added of Forbes:
“Bryan Forbes was a titan of cinema, known and loved by people around the world in film and theatre industries and known in other fields including politics. He is simply irreplaceable and it is wholly apt that he died surrounded by his family.”
Brian Forbes was awarded the Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema in 2006 at the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards. He was also made CBE in 2004 for services to the arts and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.
Forbes was born in east London in July 22, 1926 as John Theobald Clarke. He began his career as an actor before making his screen acting debut in 1948. Forbes landed several supporting parts in notable British films, like An Inspector Calls in 1954 and The Colditz Story in 1955.
But his career in front of the camera soon gave way to one behind the camera. Forbes made his directorial debut in 1961 with Whistle Down the Wind. The film led him to become one of the leading figures in post-war British cinema. Other notable films were The Wrong Box in 1966 and The Raging Moon in 1971, which starred Nanette Newman, whom Forbes married in 1954.
After retiring from film directing, Brian Forbes turned to writing novels. His latest, The Soldier’s Story, was published last year. He also published two volumes of his autobiography. When interviewed by the Daily Mail last June, Forbes stated he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1975. However, doctors later told him it was a misdiagnosis.
It is not clear what Brian Forbes died from.