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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 10 August 1914Beverley, Yorkshire, England, UK
Date of Death 22 April 2009Beverly Hills, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameKenneth Cooper Annakin

Mini Bio (1)

A former salesman and journalist, Ken Annakin got into the film industry making documentary shorts. His feature debut, Holiday Camp (1947), was a comedy about a Cockney family on vacation. It was made for the Rank Organization and was a modest success, spawning three sequels, all of which he directed. He worked steadily thereafter, mainly in light comedies. One of his more atypical films was the dark thriller Across the Bridge (1957), based on a Graham Greene story about a wealthy businessman who embezzles a million dollars from his company, kills a man who resembles him and steals his identity so he can escape to Mexico. It boasted an acclaimed performance by Rod Steiger as the villain and a distinct "noir" feel to it, unlike anything Annakin had done before (or, for that matter, since).

In the 1960s he was one of several British directors--e.g., Guy Green, John Guillermin--who specialized in turning out all-star, splashy, big-budget European/American co-productions, shot on the Continent. He was one of the directors of the epic World War II spectacle The Longest Day (1962) and went solo on Battle of the Bulge (1965), both of which were financial--if not exactly critical--successes. He also directed Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965), which was less successful. His final film was Genghis Khan: The Story of a Lifetime (2010), a film that was started in 1992 under Annakin's direction but never completed. In 2009 it was restarted again and Annakin was hired to assemble the existing footage for release, but died before completing the job. Italian director Antonio Margheriti finished up and the film was released in 2010.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (2)

Pauline Annakin (1959 - 22 April 2009) (his death) (1 child)
Blanka ? (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (9)

He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.
Following Annakin's death, George Lucas stated that, contrary to previous reports, he did not name the character "Anakin Skywalker" (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)) after Annakin.
He was named a Disney Legend in 2002.
He was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree from Hull University.
He has two daughters, Jane and Deborah.
Served with the Royal Air Force during the 1940 Battle of Britain, but was injured during the Blitz and went on to work as a camera operator making training films during the war.
Was close friends with James MacArthur, who co-starred in several pictures he directed. In 2008 MacArthur and Annakin hosted a special screening of Swiss Family Robinson (1960)--directed by Annakin and starring MacArthur--for a large family gathering at a film festival involving over 900 children. MacArthur visited Annakin frequently after Annakin suffered a heart attack and stroke in February 2008.
His daughter from a previous marriage, talent agent Jane Annakin, died of cancer in 1998.
Had an amazingly diverse early career, including as a trainee income tax inspector in Hull during the Depression. He held down other civil service jobs, as well as selling advertising space, working as a car salesman and prospecting for gold. He had a brief fling with journalism before joining the RAF during World War II. Invalided out, Annakin signed with Verity Films in 1942 as a camera assistant, working his way up to directing documentaries. His career really took off, when he joined Gainsborough as a feature director in 1946.

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