Website last updated: 7-5-2024

In Memoriam of Film Director Guy Hamilton (1922-2016)

By: FSWL team
Guy Hamilton Goldfinger James Bond
FSWL is extremely sad to report yet another passing of a cherished member of the 'James Bond family' and a very dear friend & supporter of this website. Legendary film director Guy Hamilton (born in Paris on 16th September 1922) who directed four of the most classic Bond films (Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun) has died at the age of 93. We send our deepest condolences to his stepson and the rest of Guy's family and thank him for his HUGE contribution to the 007 phenomenon.

"You can't really change the formula, you can merely try to film it your way."
Guy Hamilton [on the Bond film series]

So far 2016 has been a terrible year for the Bond world as Hamilton’s death comes soon after losing iconic production designer Ken Adam (1921-2016).

FSWL founder Anders Frejdh comments:
"Totally devastated to hear about the passing of Guy who I last visited just over a year ago at his home in Mallorca. He was, and forever will be, someone I am always in debt to as he graciously supported From Sweden With Love all the way from its early days on the web in 2004. Miss him, his wit, kindness and friendship already more than I can explain. Last spoke to him in February. Shortly thereafter he fell, broke his hip and became hospitalised. When I spoke to his stepson two weeks ago he was recuperating well but most sadly declined in health after that. Rest in peace my friend, you will forever remain in my heart as one of nicest people I have ever met."

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (current James Bond producers) commented via the official website (
"We mourn the loss of our dear friend Guy Hamilton who firmly distilled the Bond formula in his much celebrated direction of Goldfinger and continued to entertain audiences with Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. We celebrate his enormous contribution to the Bond films."

And Roger Moore (James Bond in two of Guy's 007 films) via Twitter:
"Incredibly, incredibly saddened to hear the wonderful director Guy Hamilton has gone to the great cutting room in the sky. 2016 is horrid."

Roger Moore with Guy Hamilton on the set of The Man with the Golden Gun in Thailand
Friends and colleagues who left a comment for FSWL of the beloved director:
"Guy for me - set the compass for Bond, indeed Harry and Cubby were talent seekers and promoters, think of Maurice Binder (who could be credited with creating the music video genre and designer of the Bond logo) - and Ken Adams as the style and scene Meister of James Bond and you have the secret key to the formula, the 007 Trinity. I easily imagine Harry and Cubby at a onset table somewhere, pasta's on the boil the setting and Maurice is impatiently waiting his turn and then Harry tells a joke and Maurice laughs in his unique cadence and Ken swirls his cognac in a large snifter, drawing deeply on his Monte Cristo and then Guy calls "Cut!" ... it's only a Scene from a movie ... God, how fortunate we were to be able to consider these passionate people part of our Bond family!" – Steven Saltzman (son of Harry Saltzman)

"Very sad news about Guy. A true British gentleman and one of the Bond originals. Of his four Bonds my favourite was Goldfinger. What a fantastic movie. Janine and I spent a very enjoyable weekend with Guy in Paris a couple of years ago and got to know him really well. He told us some very amusing stories of his escapades in the Navy during the Second World War. Because of his fluent French he was engaged in landing agents in Brittany and on one occasion was stranded there when his boat had to leave suddenly.
My first encounter with Guy was in 1947 when he was assistant to Carol Reed on The Third Man and I was a lowly assistant editor." – John Glen (Director of five James Bond films)

"I am so sorry that Peter Janson-Smith's death has been followed so quickly by Guy Hamilton. I got to know him originally when I was in my teens because his mother lived in our village." – Andrew Lycett (Ian Fleming biographer)

"The GREAT GUY HAMILTON !!! I'm an Actor with lots of IDEAS and for each one he would say to me, 'All right, show me.' I would, then he'd say, 'All right now show him.' By "him" he meant the terrific crusty old Aussie D.P. [who shot the film] I'd do it again and the DP would always chuckle and say, 'AYUP', Guy would then say , 'All right lets shoot it.' THANK YOU GUY !!! He let me bring in the FUNNY to Diamonds [Are Forever] "The funniest BOND film moment ever" according to Sir Roger Moore (Thank you SIR.) was the final MR. WINT - OOOH moment as the kindly SEAN lifts up his "YAA – HAA" [and flips him over the side of the ship!] The first gift GUY gave me was after I'd been given the part of one of the 2 GAY killers , the 1st time in film history that 2 guys were clearly identified as GAY, I asked GUY to not tell which one I'd be playing. He said, 'Really, why?' He'd never auditioned [me] but he had an instinct for me and casting in general - like seeing that Putter [Smith] should be one of the guys. I answered 'I don't know why, [AND I DIDN'T] I just don't want to know.' He agreed and made sure NOBODY including Putter told me that I was Mr. Wint. There I was on the desert set outside of VEGAS two hours before my 1st time on CAM and I still didn't KNOW. Bold crazy move on my part CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY !!!! That's me. THANKS GUY!!!
Bruce Glover (Diamonds Are Forever)

"The brave and kind Guy Hamilton impacted my life in an unforeseen way. He came to see Thelonious Monk at Shelley Manne's jazz club in Hollywood during the casting of Diamonds Are Forever (I was playing with the great pianist)
When Guy, whom everyone on the set called 'the Guv' or 'Guv', asked me to be in the film I was flabbergasted. I had to say yes even though acting had NEVER crossed my mind. Guv was kind and helpful and got me through with the help of my wife.
I am very grateful to the Guv. And I still feel unworthy of accolades and requests for autographs since I did nothing to earn what happened - it's like someone congratulating your financial wisdom for having won the lottery."
Putter Smith (Mr. Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever)

Guy Hamilton and Putter Smith on the set of Diamonds Are Forever
"RIP Guy Hamilton, a great Director and a lovely man!" – John Richardson (SFX maestro and son of Cliff Richardson who Guy also worked with)

"I am saddened, devastated and will never forget the friendship and kindness given by the wonderful Guy Hamilton. Diamonds and Guy ... are forever ... Damn damn damn! Please direct something wonderful in heaven. Rest vibrant man."
Lana Wood (Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds Are Forever)

"Very sad news. A very good director. RIP, Mr. Nice Guy. You were a Gentleman in our business."
Terry Mountain (Blofeld guard in Diamonds Are Forever)

"So sad ... RIP Guy Hamilton." – Caron Gardner (Flying Circus Pilot in Goldfinger)

"I was so honored to have worked with Guy. God Bless his Soul!" – Trina Parks (Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever)

"I am so very sorry to hear about Guy Hamilton. Both he and Roger were absolute gentle men who transformed my life over 3 blissful days." – Madeline Smith (Miss Caruso in Live and Let Die)

About Guy Hamilton:
Guy Hamilton was born in Paris, France where his English parents were living at the time. Remaining in France during the Nazi occupation, he was active in the French Resistance. After the end of the war, he started to work as an assistant to Carol Reed on films including The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949), before turning to directing with his first film The Ringer (1952). He worked on a total of 36 films (22 as director) from the 1940s to the 1980s, including four instalments based on the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming.

Hamilton was one of many directors who turned down Dr. No (1962) but eventually entered the series after Terence Young's departure from Goldfinger. He left during pre-production of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

Actors and actresses from the Bond films remember working with Guy:

"As I recall, the actor who was to be Hamilton got sick or for some reason could not keep the commitment. Roger asked Guy, 'Why not let Bob do it', and Guy agreed I should play Hamilton." – Bob Dix (Live and Let Die)

"At the time, I was very frightened of Guy as he was a very precise and demanding director, but, having met him in recent years to talk about the Bond film I must say he is a fabulous man, and certainly not someone I had to be scared of."
Britt Ekland (Mary Goodnight in The Man with the Golden Gun)

Guy Hamilton and Britt Ekland on the set of The Man with the Golden Gun in Thailand
"He knew what he wanted and I hope I gave him what he asked of me. Directing Bond is probably less about the actors and more about the overall pace and style of the film. Guy was a veteran director who knew his stuff."
David Hedison (Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die)

"Guy is beyond adorable! He let me do whatever I wanted with my character, was fun to be around. And I recall he and his wife were robbed in Las Vegas while they slept!" – Lana Wood

"Guy Hamilton was generous in how much you were allowed to stray even slightly from the written script. But you didn’t try to do it too often." – Shane Rimmer (Tom in Diamonds Are Forever)

Hamilton was originally chosen to direct Superman in 1978, but due to his status as a tax exile he was only allowed to be in England for thirty days, where production had moved at the last minute to Pinewood Studios. The job of director was then passed to Richard Donner, but Hamilton insisted he'd be paid in full. Guy put the money to good use, building a beautiful house on the idyllic island of Mallorca!

In the 1980s, Guy Hamilton was also approached to direct Batman (1989) after producer Michael Uslan imagined that Batman would be a franchise in the 007 mould. According to Bruce Scivally, author of Billion Dollar Batman, Uslan said they "had some talks" with Hamilton, but producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters were thinking of a more comedic approach and went to Ivan Reitman, then Joe Dante, who said yes, but eventually dropped out because he "just didn't believe in it." That was in 1984, and the project went through many other hands before Tim Burton took it on.

After retiring from the film business in the early 1990's, Guy enjoyed playing golf (a sport he introduced Sean Connery to for the filming of Goldfinger) and contributed to a variety of literature including the forward to On the Tracks of 007 (published in 2008) by FSWL contributor Martijn Mulder. The introduction for the official programme to the 50th Anniversary celebration of Goldfinger in Oslo 2014, and several hours being interviewed for Some Kind Of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond films (2012) written by FSWL contributors Ajay Chowdhury & Matthew Field. Guy also attended many Bond events such as the spectacular Vue sur Bond in Canada (hosted by Hilary Saltzman, daughter of Harry) that FSWL was most fortunate to attend as well.

Guy is survived by his stepson Frank. His wife of many years, Keri, passed away in July 2014. (Before Keri, he was married to actress Naomi Chance.)

A selection of Guy Hamilton's other films: (IMDB profile)
• The Intruder (1953)
• An Inspector Calls (1954)
• The Colditz Story (1955) (which he also co-wrote)
• Charley Moon (1956)
• Manuela (1957)
• A Touch of Larceny (1959)
• The Devil's Disciple (1959)
• The Best of Enemies (1962)
• Man in the Middle (1963)
• The Party's Over (1965)
Funeral in Berlin (1966, produced by Harry Saltzman)
Battle of Britain (1969, with Curd Jürgens and Robert Shaw among others, also produced by Harry Saltzman)
Force 10 from Navarone (1978, with Robert Shaw, Barbara Bach, Edward Fox and Richard Kiel)
• The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
• Evil under the Sun (1982)
• Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
• Try this One for Size (1989)

Click here to listen to film director Guy Hamilton discuss the ingredients of a successful Bond movie and looks back at a career that started with his apprenticeship in the French film business at the age of 17. The director maintains that, in his opinion, although the Bond films defy the formulaic, one of the golden rules in their production is to put the money up on the screen, particularly with the sets and stunts, which should look as expensive and spectacular as possible. His take on Bond is that the secret agent is a Latter-day Saint George, albeit a lecherous one, and the villains he faces represent the dragon.

Other obituaries of Guy Hamilton:
>BBC News (21-4-2016)
>British Film Institute (21-4-2016)
>Daily Mail (21-4-2016)
>Empire (21-4-2016)
>Hollywood Reporter (21-4-2016)
>The Independent (21-4-2016)
>Telegraph (21-4-2016)
>The Guardian (21-4-2016)
>Variety (21-4-2016)

Photo above:
Guy Hamilton in Mallorca. Photo by Anders Frejdh. © 2016 From Sweden with Love.

More information about Guy Hamilton's fabulous career in films on Screen Online.



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