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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Director Bryan Forbes made CBE
Brian Forbes
Brian Forbes is married to actress Nanette Newman
Bryan Forbes, who directed Whistle Down the Wind and the original The Stepford Wives, has been awarded a CBE for services to the arts.

An actor, writer, film director and producer, Forbes, who was born John Theobald Clarke, in east London on 22 July 1926, had his heart set on an acting career as a boy.

Despite failing to complete his studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (Rada), he made his screen acting debut in 1948.

Over the next 10 years, he landed supporting parts in numerous notable British films including An Inspector Calls (1954) and The Colditz Story (1955) - but it was not long before the lure of directing and screenwriting pulled him behind the camera.

Critical acclaim

Forbes worked on a number of scripts before his breakthrough at the age of 33, when he won critical acclaim for his screenplay for Basil Dearden's The League of Gentlemen.

The following year, he wrote one of his most controversial screenplays for Guy Green's The Angry Silence, starring Richard Attenborough.

His directing career began in 1961 with Whistle Down the Wind, starring child star Haley Mills as Little Kathy who finds a wanted man hiding in her family's barn and believes he is Jesus Christ.

The film was later made into a musical by Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

Forbes directed many more films in the 1960s and early 1970s, including The Wrong Box (1966) and The Raging Moon (1971), which starred his wife Nanette Newman.


They had married in 1954 - with Roger Moore as best man - and together have two daughters. They are television presenter Emma Forbes and Sarah, who is married to actor John Standing.

In 1975, he directed cult horror classic The Stepford Wives, based on the novel by Ira Levin.

In the film, rich suburban men, threatened by feminism, murder their wives and create robotic, subservient homemakers in their likeness.

A remake of the film, starring Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Glenn Close, and directed by Frank Oz, was released in the US on Friday.

Forbes was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1975, and put his subsequent remission down to a gluten-free diet and a loving wife.

The condition did not stop him directing International Velvet in 1978, starring Tatum O'Neal, and continuing to act, direct and write throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

Forbes has also written several novels and two volumes of his autobiography. He is now president of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

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