Director Michael Anderson, who was Oscar-nominated for his role in bringing to life the epic film Around The World in 80 Days and later was behind the cameras for the sci-fi classic Logans Run, has died. He was 98 and passed away at his home in Canada of heart disease.
Anderson had a long film career, directing such war movies as The Dam Busters (which the British Film Institute named one of the best British films of the 20th century),The Yangtse Incident, Operation Crossbow, and also such staples as The Wreck of the Mary Deare, The Quiller Memorandum, Chase a Crooked Shadow, and The Shoes of the Fisherman.
But the defining film of his career was Around the World In 80 Days, a three-hour film based on the Jules Verne adventure novel. The film was as much about logistics as it was the narrative, setting records for camera set-ups, sets, costumes, participants and locations.
The storyline has Phileas Fogg (David Niven) and his valet, Passepartout (Cantinflas), as they try to win a £20,000 bet by circling the globe in record time. It was a star-show of the first order in tht era, featuring cameos from Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, John Gielgud, Edward R. Murrow, Noel Coward, Charles Boyer, Ronald Colman, Robert Newton, Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton, Victor McLaglen and Red Skelton.
The film was named Best Picture and won a total of five Academy Awards. Anderson lost the Best Director nod to George Stevens, who helmed Giant. That year Anderson also received nominations from the Directors Guild of America and the Golden Globes. His overall career spanned 70 years, over 35 films, and included seven Royal Command Performances for the British monarchy. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Directors Guild of Canada in 2012.
Anderson is survived by his third wife, actress Adrianne Ellis; his son, Michael Anderson Jr.; stepchildren Christopher Anderson and Laurie Holden, the latter appearing on TV shows The X-Files, The Shield and The Walking Dead.
A private memorial service for family and friends will be held at his home on the Sunshine Coast of Canada over the summer. The family requests that those wishing to commemorate Andersons life do so by making a donation to the Famous People Players in Toronto, a non-profit black light theater company that tours worldwide and is dedicated to employing people with intellectual and physical disabilities.