Di­rec­tor of 3 Bond films, Lewis Gil­bert, dies at 97

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - NEWS - BY JILL LAW­LESS

LON­DON — Di­rec­tor Lewis Gil­bert, whose dozens of movies in­cluded three James Bond thrillers —“You Only Live Twice,” “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moon­raker” — and the Swing­ing Lon­don clas­sic “Al­fie,” died at 97, col­leagues said Tues­day.

Bond pro­duc­ers Bar­bara Broc­coli and Michael G. Wil­son said in a state­ment “it is with great sad­ness that we learn of the pass­ing of our dear friend Lewis Gil­bert.” The Bond fan site “From Swe­den With Love” said he died Fri­day in Monaco.

Broc­coli and Wil­son said Gil­bert was “a true gen­tle­man” whose Bond films “are con­sid­ered clas­sics within the se­ries.”

The Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute’s fil­mog­ra­phy lists 33 fea­tures directed by Gil­bert be­tween 1947 and 2002, mak­ing him the most pro­lific of Bri­tish filmmakers. But, he ac­knowl­edged, most peo­ple re­mem­bered him for his 007 thrillers.

“When I go around the world now when I’m work­ing it’s amaz­ing — they’re not in­ter­ested in any of my films un­til I say ‘James Bond,’” Gil­bert told the BBC in 2010. “And the minute I say ‘James Bond’ they prac­ti­cally gen­u­flect.”

Gil­bert’s first Bond film was “You Only Live Twice” with Sean Con­nery in 1967. He re­turned a decade later to di­rect Roger Moore as 007 in “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moon­raker.”

Born in Lon­don in 1920 into a fam­ily of vaudevil­lians, Gil­bert got his start in the movies as a child ac­tor be­fore join­ing the Royal Air Force dur­ing World War II. He made his di­rect­ing de­but mak­ing doc­u­men­taries while sec­onded to the U.S. Army Air Forces’ film unit.

His first postwar credit as di­rec­tor was for “The Ten Year Plan,” a doc­u­men­tary about hous­ing; his first fea­ture as di­rec­tor was “The Lit­tle Bal­le­rina” in 1947.

In 1966 he directed a young Michael Caine as a man-about­town in “Al­fie,” which was nom­i­nated for five Academy Awards.

Lewis Gil­bert

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