15 Nov 2009

Magnificent Seven director dies

11:52 am on 15 November 2009

Director Paul Wendkos, whose career spanned 50 years and covered 100 films and television shows, including the 1959 surf movie Gidget, has died in California of a lung infection. He was 84.

His other films included Guns of the Magnificent Seven, and television series such as The Legend of Lizzie Borden, starring Elizabeth Montgomery.

Wendkos, who was born in Philadelphia in 1925, attended Columbia University in New York and later studied film history and aesthetics at The New School for Social Research.

His first narrative film was the 1957 drama The Burglar, starring Jayne Mansfield, who was a little known actress at the time.

Shot on the streets of Philadelphia and New York, it captured the attention of Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohen, who brought Wendkos to Hollywood.