Ken Annakin
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ken Annakin, the British-born director whose credits included the World War II epics "Battle of the Bulge" and "The Longest Day" and the family classic "Swiss Family Robinson," has died. He was 94.

Annakin died Wednesday night at his Beverly Hills home, said his daughter, Deborah Peters. His health had been failing since he had a heart attack and stroke within a day of each other in February, she said.

Before he was stricken, Annakin had been in good health and always talked about making more movies, even though he had not directed since the early 1990s, his daughter said.

"He was absolutely fine, other than old age," Peters said. "He was walking and mobile, chatting and working, still trying to get films made. I don't think anybody like that ever really stops."

Annakin dabbled in many genres, from action comedies and family fare to crime drama and swashbuckling romance. He was best-known for his war sagas, 1965's "B attle of the Bulge" with Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Robert Shaw and Telly Savalas and 1962's "The Longest Day," which he co-directed with Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki.

Adapted from Cornelius Ryan's D-Day best-seller, "The Longest Day" featured an all-star cast led by Fonda, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger, Sean Connery and Peter Lawford.

Annakin's other films include "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines," whose screenplay earned him an Academy Award nomination, and the similarly titled action comedy "Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies." He also directed "Call of the Wild," a 1972 adaptation of Jack London's adventure starring Charlton Heston; the 1957 crime thriller "Across the Bridge" with Steiger; and the 1982 musical romance "The Pirate Movie" with Kristy McNichol.

Probably his most-beloved film was 1960's "Swiss Family Robinson," one of a series of family adventures Annakin made for Walt Disney Pictures starting in the 1950s. The film starred John Mills and Dorothy McGuire as parents of a family battling pirates and struggling to survive after they are shipwrecked on an island.

"Ken was an important part of the Disney legacy and made several memorable films for my Uncle Walt," said Roy Disney. "'Swiss Family Robinson' remains one of the greatest family adventure films of all time, and a favorite for generations of moviegoers."

Co-star James MacArthur recalled screening "Swiss Family Robinson" with Annakin for a family crowd at a film festival last year.

"We had 900 kids in the program. It was a read-the-book, see-the-film thing. Ken and I came down and we were here with 900 kids having the time of their lives watching 'Swiss Family,'" said MacArthur, who also worked with Annakin in "Battle of the Bulge" and an earlier Disney flick, "Third Man on the Mountain."

MacArthur, who went on to co-star as detective Danny "Book 'em, Danno" Williams in TV's "Hawaii Five-O, " said he remained good friends with Annakin and had been visiting the director every week or two since he was stricken. Annakin and his wife were godparents for MacArthur's daughter.

"He was a wonderful storyteller and one of those people you just, the minute you get to know him, you like him. He had that wonderful outgoing personality, but he was very much the general on the set, as the director has to be," MacArthur said.

Born Aug. 10, 1914, in Beverley, Yorkshire, England, Annakin traveled in his youth to Australia, New Zealand and the United States, then sold insurance, cars and advertising back in England.

During World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force as a flight mechanic but was injured during the London Blitz. He worked as a camera operator for a company making RAF training films and documentaries, later directing war propaganda films himself.

Annakin got his start as a feature filmmaker with 1947's "Holiday Camp," about the working-class H uggett family, whom he also featured in three other films over the next few years.

In 2002, Annakin was honored with the Order of the British Empire.

Besides his daughter, Deborah, Annakin is survived by his wife, Pauline, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press
Published by Los Angeles Times on Apr. 23, 2009.
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23 Entries
i went my decision
amiir khalid
October 22, 2012
For Ken...


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.

© Joe Fazio
[email protected] /Joe Fazio,
Beverly Hills, California
March 9, 2010
To the family of Ken Annakin I am sorry for your loss. I hope you can find comfort in the Bible at Isaiah 33 verse 24 there it says no resident will say "I am sick." Please read this verse.
Teresa Mock
May 29, 2009
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
May 4, 2009
Happy childhood memories of being taken to the seaside by you together with your daughter (my best friend) Jane in Belinda - your red sports car. Your garden parties at Thamesfield with all the two children watching ...
Jennifer Moss (nee Cross)
May 1, 2009
There are no words to describe my feelings for what I consider your most famous movie..."the Longest Day" because it tells the story of June 6, 1944 SO WELL and accurately. I know!! I was there flying my 2nd,3rd,& 4th Combat Missions in a P-51 Fighter plane. I always claim that this as my favorite movie, well done and accurate with what happened on that historic day. We have lost a wonderful director and man.
>Robert L. Garlich, Lt.Col.USAF(Ret.)
Robert Garlich
April 29, 2009
There are no words that i can say to you that will alleviate the pain that you carry but know that God loves you and you are not alone.You have so many people that cares about you and loves you. Your son was loved by so many and has touched the lives of so many.So if you ever need anything please do not hesitate to call on me.
Love Karline
Anthony Rodrigues
April 29, 2009
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and greatest gifts with the movie industry. Your talents as being on of the greatest will last a lifetime. With deepest sympathy to the Annakin family.

John 11: 1-44.
Rosemary Pettigrew
April 28, 2009
Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Debra Sanchez
April 26, 2009
Thank you for the great motion picture adventure, rest in peace.
Henryk Zaleski USN Ret
April 26, 2009
April 25, 2009
Mr. Annakin also provided the inspiration to George Lucas for the name of Annakin Skywalker, Luke's father.
Jackson Beck
April 25, 2009
What a loss to the world. The stories he could tell. Till we meet again Ken.
Kim McDonald
April 25, 2009
I am sorry for your loss may the God of all comfort and tender mercies be with you during your hour of sadness
shirley griffin
April 25, 2009
Sorry for the loss of your dear love one,
God promise that he will wipe out every tear from our eyes in death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.
April 25, 2009
Richard H. Herrick
April 24, 2009
He was always special to me for "Battle of the Bulge" as that is where my dad fought and was captured. Thank for that little moment in history. What a great mind and talent. His work will always bring us good memories, and you his family, comfort.
C Jackson
April 24, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
s malon
April 24, 2009
We offer our condolences for the loss of a great talent. May your precious memories and the comfort of God ease your pain.
Daniels Family
April 24, 2009
April 23, 2009
April 23, 2009
April 23, 2009
Richard H. Herrick
April 23, 2009
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