April 24, 2009

Filmmaker Ken Annakin dead at 94

British-born film director Ken Annakin has died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., his daughter said. He was 94.

Annakin's directing credits include Swiss Family Robinson, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Longest Day, Battle of the Bulge, The Call of the Wild, The Fifth Musketeer and The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.

He was nominated, with co-writer Jack Davies, for a screenwriting Academy Award in 1965 for Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

The Los Angeles Times said the director, who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, suffered a heart attack and a stroke within a day of each other last February.

He was a wonderful director who directed all kinds of different, wonderful pictures, James MacArthur, who appeared in three of Annakin's movies and who was the filmmaker's longtime friend, told the Times. (Annakin) was a general, which a director has to be, but he was a man of great intelligence and a very warm soul. But he knew what he wanted, and he was going to get it.

Annakin is survived by his wife of 50 years, Pauline; a daughter Deborah; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter Jane from a previous marriage in 1998.