Bryan Forbes dies at 86

Whistle Down The Wind director passes away after long illness.

by Amber Wilkinson

Whistle Down The Wind director Bryan Forbes has died at age 86.

The filmmaker, whose films also included The Stepford Wives, National Velvet and The Slipper And The Rose, passed away yesterday after a long illness.

Forbes, born John Theobald Clarke, initially forged a career as an actor on the stage before earning supporting roles in films including An Inspector Calls and The League Of Gentlemen (for which he also wrote the screenplay). He founded Allied Film Makers with Jack Hawkins, director Basil Dearden, producer Michael Relph and Richard Attenborough in 1959.

“We weren’t going anywhere,” Forbes said, “So we started our own company.”

He switched to directing in 1961, to helm Whistle Down The Wind, starring Hayley Mills, taking over after the original director was forced to pull out.

Family friend Matthew D'Ancona said: "Bryan Forbes was a titan of cinema, known and loved by people around the world in the 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."

Forbes' directing credits also include Seance On A Wet Afternoon, The Raging Moon and The Wrong Box. He was also a prolific screenwriter, with his more recent work including the co-scripting of the screenplay for Richard Attenborough's Chaplin.

In recent years he had forged a successful career as a novelist, with his most recent book The Soldier's Story published last year.

Forbes, who died at his home in Surrey, is survived by second wife Nanette Newman - who starred in several of his films - with whom he had two daughters, TV presenter Emma Forbes and journalist Sarah Standing.

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