"Battle of the Bulge" director Annakin dies at 94

Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:58pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British-born film director Ken Annakin, the man behind war film "The Battle of the Bulge" and "Swiss Family Robinson", has died at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 94, his family said on Thursday.

Annakin, who was born in Yorkshire, England, made over 60 movies, ranging from comedies and adventure to documentaries, his daughter Deborah Peters said.

He was also an inspiration for the "Star Wars" character Anakin Skywalker, who was named after him by director George Lucas.

Annakin started his film making career in England and went from there to Disney studios in southern California, making his name as a director of family entertainment.

His later films included "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines", "The Call of the Wild" starring Charlton Heston in 1972.

He was nominated for a Directors Guild of America award for best director with the 1962 World War Two movie "The Longest Day," and he was given an OBE by Britain's Queen Elizabeth for his services to the film industry.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>British film director Ken Annakin poses with a poster from one of his film's at a tribute honoring his career at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, May 6, 1999. REUTERS/Stringer</p>