Ralph Thomas

Veteran British director Ralph Thomas, whose credits include the Dirk Bogarde “Doctor” films, died Saturday of natural causes in a London hospital. He was 85.

Thomas, who began his film career as a clapper boy while still a student in 1932, became an assistant director in 1934 before leaving the industry to become a journalist. He returned to films in the late 1940s following World War II service in the British Army.

He worked with some of the biggest stars of the post-war British cinema — Trevor Howard, Jean Simmons, David Niven, Terry-Thomas and Richard Todd.

Thomas was perhaps best-known for his medical comedies — “Doctor in the House,” “Doctor at Sea,” “Doctor at Large,” “Doctor in Love,” “Doctor in Distress” and “Doctor in Trouble” — between 1953 and 1970.

Apart from Bogarde they starred, at various times, Kenneth More, Donald Sinden, Margaret Rutherford, Dora Bryan, James Robertson Justice, Lesle Phil Harrcombe and, on one occasion, a young Brigitte Bardot.

Towards the end of his career he was responsible for sex comedies such as “Percy and Percy’s Progress.”

His filmography lists 39 works from a directorial career that began in 1948 with “Once Upon a Dream” and closed in 1979 with “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”

Survivors include his son Jeremy, an independent producer whose credits include Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic “The Last Emperor.”

More Scene

  • SAG Awards Prep

    Sneak Peek at 2018 SAG Awards Post-Show Gala

    Veteran British director Ralph Thomas, whose credits include the Dirk Bogarde “Doctor” films, died Saturday of natural causes in a London hospital. He was 85. Thomas, who began his film career as a clapper boy while still a student in 1932, became an assistant director in 1934 before leaving the industry to become a journalist. […]

  • Sundance Parties

    Sundance 2018: The Insider's Party Guide

    Veteran British director Ralph Thomas, whose credits include the Dirk Bogarde “Doctor” films, died Saturday of natural causes in a London hospital. He was 85. Thomas, who began his film career as a clapper boy while still a student in 1932, became an assistant director in 1934 before leaving the industry to become a journalist. […]

  • '12 Strong' film premiere

    '12 Strong': Chris Hemsworth Hopes Film Can Reduce 'Misconceptions' About Afghanistan

    Veteran British director Ralph Thomas, whose credits include the Dirk Bogarde “Doctor” films, died Saturday of natural causes in a London hospital. He was 85. Thomas, who began his film career as a clapper boy while still a student in 1932, became an assistant director in 1934 before leaving the industry to become a journalist. […]

  • Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig and

    Timothée Chalamet Says He'd Love to Work With Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro

    Veteran British director Ralph Thomas, whose credits include the Dirk Bogarde “Doctor” films, died Saturday of natural causes in a London hospital. He was 85. Thomas, who began his film career as a clapper boy while still a student in 1932, became an assistant director in 1934 before leaving the industry to become a journalist. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content