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Bryan Forbes (1926 – 2013)

Actor, screenwriter and director Bryan Forbes passed away peacefully following a long illness on 8 May 2013. Born John Theobold Clarke in London’s East End in 1926, Clarke was better known by his stage name Bryan Forbes.

The British film-maker’s film career started shortly after he completed his military service in 1948 with several supporting roles in various British films including An Inspector Calls (1954) and The Colditz Story (1955). In 1959 he founded Beaver Films with friend and colleague Richard Attenborough. It was for Beaver Films that Forbes wrote the screenplay and starred in The League Of Gentleman (1959). 1960 saw the release of Forbes’s next screenplay The Angry Silence, this time Richard Attenborough taking the lead role.  This formidable team went on to produce Whistle Down The Wind (1961) directed by Forbes and Séance On A Wet Afternoon (1964) written and directed by Forbes. In 1965 Forbes travelled to American to direct the war drama King Rat (1965), his screenplay based on James Clavell’s debut novel of life in a prison camp.  He quickly followed with directorial duties on the comedy The Wrong Box (1966) and thriller The Whisperers (1967) starring his second wife Nanette Newman whom he had married in 1955. In 1968 Forbes directed his screen adaptation of Deadfall with Michael Caine who he had previously worked with on The Wrong Box.  

In 1969 Forbes was appointed Head Of Production and Managing Director of EMI-MGM. Forbes resigned in 1971 after overseeing projects such as The Railway Children (1970) and family film Tales Of Beatrix Potter (1970). He went back to his familiar role behind the camera by directing his romantic screenplay The Raging Moon (1971) once again casting his wife Nanette Newman alongside Malcolm McDowell, The Stepford Wives (1975) with Katherine Ross and Nanette Newman and International Velvet (1978) starring Nanette Newman as the grown up Velvet Brown. As well as directing, Forbes is also credited with co-writing the screenplays of The Raging Moon and International Velvet