Paul Almond, film­maker, cre­ator of ‘Seven Up!’ doc­u­men­tary, dies at 83

The China Post - - LIFE - BY LYNN EL­BER

Paul Almond, a Canadian-born film­maker whose land­mark 1964 doc­u­men­tary “Seven Up!” in­spired an ex­tended look at Bri­tish chil­dren’s un­fold­ing lives, has died. He was 83.

Almond died on April 9 of com­pli­ca­tions from heart dis­ease at Cedars-Si­nai Med­i­cal Cen­ter, his long­time friend David Stans­field said Thurs­day.

“He wanted all his life to be a poet. But he had to earn a living and ended up be­ing a pro­ducer and direc­tor,” Stans­field said.

The Mon­treal na­tive started his ca­reer at the CBC and went on to pro­duce and di­rect more than 100 dra­mas for the Canadian net­work as well as U.S. and UK broad­cast­ers, ac­cord­ing to Almond’s web­site. He also wrote and adapted plays for TV.

He brought the works of Harold Pin­ter, Ten­nessee Wil­liams and other famed writ­ers to TV, and his projects fea­tured fu­ture stars in­clud­ing Sean Con­nery, Maggie Smith and Wil­liam Shat­ner, Stans­field said.

Almond, also a big-screen film­maker, took great pride in the movies “Is­abel” (1968), “Act of the Heart” (1970) and “Jour­ney” (1972), which he wrote and di­rected, his friend said. The movies starred Almond’s then-wife, actress Genevieve Bu­jold.

It was in Eng­land that “Seven Up!” emerged from a pub dis­cus­sion in which Almond ob­served that Brit- ain’s so­cial class sys­tem was firmly en­trenched. His com­pan­ion cited the maxim, “Give me a child un­til he is 7, and I will give you the man,” and the idea for the project was born, Almond’s web­site re­counts.

The crit­i­cally praised “Seven Up!” in which 14 chil­dren from dif­fer­ent so­cial and eco­nomic back­grounds talk about their lives and fu­tures, ended up be­ing the foun­da­tion for a con­tin­u­ing look at them by film­maker Michael Apted.

Apted, a re­searcher on the orig­i­nal film, re­vis­ited its sub­jects ev­ery seven years for the doc­u­men­taries in­clud­ing “7 Plus Seven” in 1970, “21 Up” in 1977 to the lat­est, “56 Up,” re­leased in 2012.

Almond, who re­ceived a life­time achieve­ment award from the Di­rec­tors Guild of Canada and was ap­pointed an of­fi­cer of the Or­der of Canada, turned to writ­ing full­time in 1990. His pub­lished works in­cluded the “Al­ford Saga,” eight adventure nov­els based on fam­ily his­tory.

His sur­vivors in­clude his wife, Joan; Matthew Almond, his son with Bu­jold; as well as stepchil­dren and grand­chil­dren.


This un­dated im­age pro­vided by Joan Almond shows her hus­band Paul Almond. The Canadian-born film­maker re­cently passed away at age 83.

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