In a year that’s seen both Olivia De Havilland and Kirk Douglas turn 100, I couldn’t let the day go by and not pay tribute to my friend Roy Ward Baker, who was born 100 years ago today.
Roy was a remarkably versatile filmmaker whose later reputation with Hammer and films such as Quatermass and the Pit and The Vampire Lovers is the period most people seem to point to when regarding his career. He later had a strong association with Amicus.
But he was active from the 1930s, working with Hitchcock and, from the 1940s onwards, as a director himself on a wide range of movies. They included Morning Departure, Inferno, A Night to Remember, Flame in the Streets and The One That Got Away.
He was a talented man and a kind man. I was privileged enough to work with him back in 2000 when I presented a retrospective of his work at Bradford Film Festival. The following year he wrote the foreword to my first book An Actor and a Rare One – Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes.
And when I received an award for it he came along to London’s National Film Theatre as my lucky charm.
Roy was a tremendously fine filmmaker. More than that, he was my friend. Wherever he is, I hope he’s enjoying a glass of something classy.
Roy Ward Baker 1916 – 2010