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Jack Lee (film director)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jack Lee
Wilfred John Raymond Lee

(1913-01-27)27 January 1913
Slad, England
Died15 October 2002(2002-10-15) (aged 89)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • editor
  • producer
FamilyLaurie Lee (brother)

Wilfred John Raymond "Jack" Lee (27 January 1913 – 15 October 2002) was a British film director, screenwriter, editor, and producer, who directed a number of postwar films on location in Australia for The Rank Organisation.


Early life

Lee was born in the village of Slad near Stroud, Gloucestershire, the eldest brother of Laurie Lee, author of Cider with Rosie. In childhood, the two boys were close but fell out in later life. Natural rivals, Jack gained a place at the grammar school (Marling School in Stroud), an advantage not granted to Laurie who went to Stroud Central School for Boys.[1]


He directed and co-wrote the screenplay of the pioneering motorcycle speedway film Once a Jolly Swagman (1949) which starred Dirk Bogarde.

Among Jack Lee's other films are The Wooden Horse (1950),[2] a popular Second World War POW escape film; Turn the Key Softly (1953), a realistic drama; A Town Like Alice (1956), starring Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch, based on Nevil Shute's novel;[3] and Robbery Under Arms (1957), a Western-style adventure set in Australia, based on the 1888 bushranger novel by "Rolf Boldrewood".

During the Australian feature film renaissance ushered in with Picnic at Hanging Rock , he served as chairman (from 1976 to 1981) of the South Australian Film Corporation,[4] which started the careers of Bruce Beresford and Peter Weir.

Personal life

Lee was originally engaged to be married to Hilda Lee (no relation) but the wedding was called off weeks before it was due to happen. Lee was married twice, in 1946 to the British casting director Nora Francisca Blackburne (21 April 1914 – 7 July 2009), following her divorce from Adam Alexander Dawson.[5] They had two children before divorcing.

In 1963, he married Isabel Kidman who was an heiress to the Kidman cattle dynasty. She had two children from her previous marriage. She was not allowed to take them out of the country, so he settled in Australia, and although he returned often to Britain, he spent the rest of his life there, dying in Sydney, New South Wales, in October 2002.


  1. ^ McFarlane, Brian. "Lee, (Wilfred) Jack Raymond". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/77340. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Profile,; accessed 16 May 2016.
  3. ^ Profile, Halliwells Film 2007; ISBN 978-0-00-723470-7
  4. ^ The Making of an Australian Film The Age, 16 June 1976
  5. ^ "The way we were: my life in pictures", in The Times dated 23 August 2005

External links

This page was last edited on 15 October 2020, at 18:35
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