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Overview for Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson



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Also Known As: Michael Joseph Anderson Died:
Born: January 30, 1920 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: Director ... director assistant director composer producer screenwriter unit production manager actor errand boy (at Elstree Studios)


An intelligent and dependable British-born director Michael Anderson apprenticed under the likes of David Lean, Noel Coward (co-directors of 1942's "In Which We Serve") and Peter Ustinov, with whom he co-directed "Private Angelo" (1949), starring Ustinov in the title role. Anderson made a fine impression at the helm of "The Dam Busters" (1954), the exciting true story about the bombing of the Ruhr dams during World War II, then followed with the first film version of "1984" (1955) before shocking everyone with his outstanding work on the Academy Award-winning Best Picture "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). He produced as well as directed "Shake Hands with the Devil" (1959), a gripping drama set in 1920s Ireland that starred Jimmy Cagney as a medical professor hell-bent on Irish independence. Returning to a World War II setting, Anderson helmed one of his best pictures, "Operation Crossbow" (1965), and followed with "The Quiller Memorandum" (1966, adapted by Harold Pinter), a spy thriller lost amidst the spate of similar 60s films.

The well-crafted, if uneven "Logan's Run" (1976) marked Anderson's first foray into science fiction while "Orca" (1977) proved a mediocre attempt to capitalize on the success of "Jaws" (1975). Embarking on a career in television, he helmed the NBC miniseries "The Martian Chronicles" (1980) and received critical acclaim for his direction of the HBO movie "Sword of Gideon" (1986), a fictionalized version of the revenge extracted for the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympics. After missing the mark with the sci-fi feature "Millennium" (1989), Anderson helmed the curiosity "La Boutique de l'orfevre/The Jeweler's Shop" (1989), based on a play written by Pope John Paul II. The director then concentrated on the small screen, primarily guiding largely uninspired period dramas and literary adaptations like "Catherine the Great" (TNT, 1991), "The Sea Wolf" (TNT, 1993), "Captains Courageous" (The Family Channel, 1996) and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (CBS, 1997). His first feature in nearly a decade was the straight-to-video release "Summer of the Monkeys" (1998) which proved more suited to the small screen.

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