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British director Ronald Neame dies at 99

June 18, 2010 | 10:41 am


Ronald Neame, a prominent figure in the British film industry whose long and varied career included producing the 1940s classics "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist" and directing films such as "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and "The Poseidon Adventure," has died. He was 99.

Neame, who also directed Judy Garland's final film, "I Could Go on Singing," died Wednesday in Los Angeles, the BBC reported. Further details were not immediately available, but he reportedly never recovered from a fall.

"He's a real long-lived, old-timey pro who came up the hard way doing everything," said Lawrence Turman, who produced "I Could Go on Singing," told The Times in 2009. "A lovely man, by the way — very gentle, never somehow raised his voice or got angry."

In a more than six-decade career that included being the 17-year-old assistant cameraman on England's first sound film — Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 crime thriller "Blackmail" — Neame rose through the ranks to become a director of photography at age 24.

He went on to photograph films such as director Gabriel Pascal's version of the George Bernard Shaw comedy "Major Barbara" (1941), the David Lean- and Noel Coward-directed patriotic wartime drama "In Which We Serve" (1942), and the Lean-directed adaptation of the Coward play "Blithe Spirit" (1945).

As a cinematographer, Neame shared an Academy Award nomination with sound designer C.C. Stevens for special effects in 1943 for the World War II drama "One of Our Aircraft is Missing."

A full obituary will follow at

-- Dennis McLellan


Director Ronald Neame, left, with producer Ross Hunter, on the set of "The Chalk Garden," filmed in England in 1964. File photo.