'Bulge' director Ken Annakin dies

Helmed 'Battle of the Bulge,' 'Call of the Wild'

Ken Annakin, best known for directing the 1965 World War II epic “The Battle of the Bulge,” died Wednesday at his Beverly Hills home. He was 94.

Annakin’s daughter, Deborah Peters, said her father had a heart attack and stroke within a day of each other in February.

The British native’s 50-year career also included “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines,” for which he received an Academy Award nomination (shared with Jack Davies) for original screenplay.

Annakin also directed “The Call of the Wild,” a 1972 adaptation of Jack London’s adventure; Disney live-action films “The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men” (1952), “The Sword and the Rose” (1953), “Swiss Family Robinson” (1960) and “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking” (1986); and “The Longest Day” (1962).

In the 1962 films “The Fast Lady” and “Crooks Anonymous,” Annakin directed Julie Christie’s first film appearances. His personal favorite was “Across the Bridge” (1957), starring Rod Steiger and adapted from a Graham Greene story.

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas paid him an indirect compliment when he named the character Anakin Skywalker for him. 

In addition to Deborah, Annakin is survived by his wife of 50 years, Pauline; grandchildren Alice and Matthew; and great grandchildren, Oliver and Zoe.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday at Westwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
comments powered by Disqus