"Poseidon Adventure" Director Ronald Neame Dies

British film director Ronald Neame is seen in this August 2000 file photo in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Ronald Neame, a three-time Academy Award nominee whose resume as a producer and director included British classics like "Great Expectations," and Hollywood blockbusters like "The Poseidon Adventure," has died. He was 99.

Neame's wife Donna told The Associated Press on Friday that her husband died in a Los Angeles hospital Wednesday, about six weeks after being injured in a fall.

He was nominated for Oscars with director David Lean as co-writer of 1945's "Brief Encounter" and 1946's "Great Expectations."

Neame began his career of more than 60 years in 1929 when he worked as a cameraman for Alfred Hitchcock on the first British sound film, 1929's "Blackmail."

In addition to serving as a camera operator and director of photography, he also has credits as a production manager, and shared an Oscar nomination for special effects for "One of Our Aircraft is Missing" (1942).

Among his credits as a cinematographer are "Major Barbara" (1941), "In Which We Serve" (1942), "This Happy Breed" (1944) and "Blithe Spirit" (1945). He was one of the founders of the British Society of Cinematographers and the British Film Academy.

Neame went on to direct the World War II espionage thriller "The Man Who Never Was" (1956), "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," starring Maggie Smith (1969), and the 1972 box office hit, "The Poseidon Adventure," with an all-star cast trying to escape an overturned ocean liner

(Twentieth Century Fox)
His ties to disaster extended to the 1979 sci-fi film "Meteor," which Neame directed and also appeared in, as a British U.N. representative.

Neame directed Alec Guinness in some of his finest performances, including "The Promoter" (1952), "The Horse's Mouth" (1958) and "Tunes of Glory" (1960); and he directed Judy Garland in her last film role, in "I Could Go on Singing" (1963).

In addition to adapting Dickens with David Lean, Neame also directed films based on stories by Mark Twain (1954's "Man with a Million," starring Gregory Peck), W. Somerset Maugham (1957's "The Seventh Sin," with Eleanor Parker and George Sanders), and Frederick Forsyth (1973's "The Odessa File").

His other directing credits include "The Chalk Garden" (1964) with Deborah Kerr and Hayley Mills; "A Man Could Get Killed (1966); "Gambit" (1966); "Prudence and the Pill" (1968); the musical "Scrooge" (1970), starring Albert Finney as the miserly Ebenezer; and two comedies with Walter Matthau, "Hopscotch" and "First Monday in October." His last credit was for a specialty 70mm film, "The Magic Balloon" (1990).

In 2003 Neame's autobiography, "Straight from the Horse's Mouth," was published.

His honors include a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.