Cult film writer, director and producer Val Guest, known for his eclectic career emphasizing British sci fi pics, died Wednesday, May 10 in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 94.
Guest was one of the directors and writers of the kooky James Bond collaborative spoof “Casino Royale,” and also worked in musicals, comedies, thrillers and sci-fi. He is said to have made some of Britian’s best films as well as some of its worst. Best known for sci fi thrillers including 1955’s “The Quatermass Experiment” and “Qatermass II,” “The Abominable Snowman” and “The Day the Earth Caught Fire,” he also produced, directed and composed the score for 1960 beatnik oddity “Expresso Bongo.”
Born in London, he started as an actor in the early 1930s before a stint working in the London bureau of the Hollywood Reporter led to contacts which helped him move into screenwriting and then directing in the 1940s.
He teamed with popular British comedian Will Hay to write several classic comedies including “Oh Mr. Porter,” “Good Morning Boys!” and “Ask a Policeman,” and made his directing debut in 1943 with musical comedy “Miss London Ltd.” While directing “Miss Pilgrim’s Progress” in 1950, he worked with actress Yolande Donland, whom he later married.
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In later years, he turned out forgettable titles like “Diamond Mercenaries,” “Au Pair Girls” and “Confessions of a Window Cleaner” before turning to directing TV shows such as “The Persuaders!”
He was survived by Donland, a son and a stepson.