Cy Endfield, 80, film director and writer who was blacklisted in the U.S. and made numerous films overseas, including “Zulu” and “Sands of the Kalahari,” died April 16 of cerebral vascular disease in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, England.

Endfield had been based in the U.K. since the early ’50s, but made a last trip to his native country in 1992, when a tribute at the Telluride Film Festival sparked a revival of interest in his work.

Cyril Raker Endfield was born in Scranton, Pa., in 1914. During the ’20s, he was known as a child prodigy magician, and he was celebrated in magic circles all his life for his skill at prestidigitation. He attended Yale U. and the New Theater School in New York and was involved in theatrical work in Montreal before moving to Hollywood in 1941.

After meeting Orson Welles at a Hollywood Boulevard magic shop, Endfield got his first film industry job as an assistant at Welles’ Mercury company at the time of “The Magnificent Ambersons.”

He served during World War II with the Army Signal Corps and in 1944 began directing Passing Parade shorts for MGM.

He made his feature debut with “Gentleman Joe Palooka” in 1946 and, working on tiny budgets and usually contributing to the screenplays, followed with “Stork Bites Man” and “The Argyle Secrets.” The latter, based on an Endfield radio play, was a particularly interesting B movie in its suggestion that the U.S. government secretly brought Nazis into the country to work for the military.

After the noir crime drama “The Underworld Story,” Endfield, in 1950, made his most important American picture, “The Sound of Fury” (later retitled “Try and Get Me!”), a corrosive look at conditions on the post war homefront and a ferocious depiction of a lynch mob in action.

Endfield finished one more Hollywood picture, “Tarzan’s Savage Fury,” but his college-era radical activities resulted in his name coming before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and he left the country rather than name names.

Re-establishing himself in the U.K. and sometimes working under pseudonyms, Endfield directed more than a dozen films, including “The Limping Man,” “The Master Plan,” “Impulse,” “Child in the House,” “Hell Divers,” “Sea Fury,” “Jet Storm,” “Mysterious Island” and “Hide and Seek.”

“Zulu,” an impressive battle epic shot in South Africa that was Michael Caine’s first film, was an international success in 1964, but after his next picture, “Sands of the Kalahari,” his career faltered with “De Sade” and “Universal Soldier.” Experiencing success as an inventor, he tallied a final screenplay credit on “Zulu Dawn” in 1979.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

More Scene

  • Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones'On the

    Why Armie Hammer Cooked for the Cast of 'On the Basis of Sex'

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to her hometown on Sunday for the New York premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic starring Felicity Jones tells the Supreme Court justice’s origin story. The 85-year-old Brooklynite received a standing ovation when she entered the Walter Reade Theater — a testament to the Notorious RBG’s rock-star status. Ginsburg [...]

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, Magic [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content