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J. Lee Thompson
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    (August 1, 1914-August 30, 2002)
    Born in Bristol, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was John Lee Thompson
    Directed 'Murder Without Crime' (1950), 'The Yellow Balloon' (1953), 'An Alligator Named Daisy' (1955), 'Ice-Cold In Alex' (1958), 'Tiger Bay' (1959), 'The Guns of Navarone' (1961), 'Cape Fear' (1962), 'Taras Bulba' (1962), 'What a Way to Go!' (1964), 'Mackenna's Gold' (1969), 'Conquest of the Planet of the Apes' (1972), 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes' (1973), 'The White Buffalo' (1977), 'The Greek Tycoon' (1978), 'Caboblanco' (1980), 'Happy Birthday to Me' (1981), 'The Evil That Men Do' (1984), 'King Solomon's Mines' (1985), 'Murphy's Law' (1986), 'Firewalker' (1986), 'Death Wish 4: The Crackdown' (1987) and 'Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects' (1989)
    Two of his marriages broke up over his drinking and violent outbursts.
    His 'The Yellow Balloon' was the second British film to be given an X certificate limiting it to adult-only audiences.
    His career peaked artistically in the early 60s after which he admitted to 'selling out' to Hollywood for large paychecks.
    His justification was, 'The critical acclaim was wonderful, but no one went to see my films,' even though his biggest box office success, 'The Guns of Navarone,' garnered seven Oscar nominations.
    He was an RAF tailgunner and radar operator during World War II.
    He quit drinking with the help of his final wife, Penny Thompson.
    His movies won International Critics Awards at three consecutive Berlin Film Festivals (1957-59).
    He had a reputation for coming to the set prepared and getting films done on time and within budget.
    John Mills said he could 'make a scene out of nothing.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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