Actor, writer and Stepford Wives director Bryan Forbes dies aged 86


Film director Bryan Forbes has died “following a long illness” at the age of 86, a family spokesman has said.

Forbes most famous works included the original 1970s horror classic Stepford Wives and Whistle Down The Wind.

The “giant of cinema”, who was married to the actress Nanette Newman, died surrounded by his family at his home in Virginia Water, Surrey.

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, who was made CBE in 2004 for services to the arts and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, had two daughters - the TV presenter Emma Forbes and the journalist Sarah Standing.

He was awarded the Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards in 2006.

Forbes was born John Theobald Clarke in east London on July 22, 1926.

He started off his career as an actor and made his screen acting debut in 1948.

He landed supporting parts in several notable British films including An Inspector Calls in 1954 and The Colditz Story a year later.

But he was soon lured behind the camera and made his directorial debut with Whistle Down The Wind in 1961, which led to him becoming one of the leading figures of British post-war cinema.

Forbes directed many more films in the 1960s and early 1970s, including The Wrong Box in 1966 and The Raging Moon in 1971, which starred Nanette Newman, whom he had married in 1954.

He also directed International Velvet, starring Tatum O'Neal, in 1978.

Forbes, who counted the late Queen Mother among his friends, found further success as an author, writing a number of novels, the latest of which, The Soldier's Story, was published last year.

In an interview with the Daily Mail last June he spoke of how he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1975 but doctors later admitted the diagnosis was wrong.

In the interview he also said he would want to be remembered as ”somebody not taken in by fame“.