1. ITV Report

Director Bryan Forbes dies after illness aged 86

Bryan Forbes with wife Nanette Newman. Photo: ROSIE HALLAM/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Film director Bryan Forbes has died "following a long illness", a family spokesman said today.

Forbes, whose work includes the original 1970s horror classic Stepford Wives and Whistle Down The Wind, was aged 86.

The "giant of cinema", who was married to the actress Nanette Newman, died surrounded by his family at his home in Virginia Water, Surrey, family friend Matthew D'Ancona said.

Bryan Forbes with his wife, actress Nanette Newman, and daughters, actress Emma (right) and journalist Sarah (left). Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Mr D'Ancona said: "Bryan Forbes was a titan of cinema, known and loved by people around the world in the film and theatre industries and known in other fields including politics.

"He is simply irreplaceable and it is wholly apt that he died surrounded by his family."

Left (light jacket) is Bryan Forbes, the director, with Peter O'Toole (centre front) star of the Macbeth at the Old Vic. Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Forbes, who was made CBE in 2004 for services to the arts and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, had two daughters - the TV presenter Emma Forbes and the journalist Sarah Standing.

He was awarded the Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards in 2006.

Richard Attenborough (left - right), Sheila Sim, Nanette Newman and film director Bryan Forbes in 1960. Credit: PA Wire

After starting off his career as an actor, Forbes made his directorial debut with Whistle Down The Wind in 1961, which led to him becoming one of the leading figures of British post-war cinema.

Forbes, who counted the late Queen Mother among his friends, also found success as an author, writing a number of novels, the latest of which, The Soldier's Story, was published last year.

In an interview with the Daily Mail last June he spoke of how he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1975 but doctors later admitted the diagnosis was wrong.

In the interview he also said he would want to be remembered as "somebody not taken in by fame".