09/05/2013 07:30 BST | Updated 09/05/2013 07:31 BST

Bryan Forbes Dead: 'Stepford Wives' Director Dies Aged 86

Film director Bryan Forbes has died "following a long illness", a family spokesman has said.

Forbes, whose work includes the original 1970s horror classic Stepford Wives and Whistle Down The Wind, was aged 86.

bryan forbes

The "giant of cinema", who was married to the actress Nanette Newman, died surrounded by his family at his home in Virginia Water, Surrey, family friend Matthew D'Ancona said.

Mr D'Ancona said: "Bryan Forbes was a titan of cinema, known and loved by people around the world in the film and theatre industries and known in other fields including politics.

"He is simply irreplaceable and it is wholly apt that he died surrounded by his family."

Forbes, who was made CBE in 2004 for services to the arts and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, had two daughters - the TV presenter Emma Forbes and the journalist Sarah Standing.

He was awarded the Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards in 2006.

After starting off his career as an actor, Forbes made his directorial debut with Whistle Down The Wind in 1961, which led to him becoming one of the leading figures of British post-war cinema.

Forbes, who counted the late Queen Mother among his friends, also found success as an author, writing a number of novels, the latest of which, The Soldier's Story, was published last year.

In an interview with the Daily Mail last June he spoke of how he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1975 but doctors later admitted the diagnosis was wrong. In the interview he also said he would want to be remembered as "somebody not taken in by fame".

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