Guy Hamilton, director of four James Bond films, passes away

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Apr 21, 2016, 5:03 PM EDT

The man who brought a Midas touch to the James Bond series is gone.

Director Guy Hamilton has died at age 93 on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, according to Variety. The British filmmaker was behind the camera for 22 films over a period of nearly 40 years, but he is best known for directing four James Bond outings (second most, behind John Glen's five), including 1964's iconic Goldfinger.

It was Goldfinger, the third 007 entry, that firmly established the classic Bond formula. While the series' first two films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love, were splashy spy thrillers, Goldfinger upped the humor, gadgetry and sexual innuendo while becoming the series' first all-out blockbuster and cementing Sean Connery as both Bond and a bona fide movie star.

Hamilton's other entries in the series were 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, in which Connery returned after a one-film hiatus, and Roger Moore's first two outings in the role, 1973's Live and Let Die and 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun. All of those films have their moments, although none of them come close to matching the sheer fun and pizzazz of Goldfinger.

Hamilton was also chosen as the original director of 1978's Superman: The Movie, but because he was a tax exile from England, he could only spend 30 days in the country at a time. When the production of Superman was moved there suddenly, Hamilton lost the job to Richard Donner.

Hamilton was born on Sept. 16, 1922, in Paris, where his parents were living at the time, and got his first job in the movie industry at the age of 17 in the accounts department of a French studio. After serving in the British Navy during World War II, he got work as an assistant director on a number of films, including the classics The Third Man (1949) and The African Queen (1951). He made his directorial debut in 1952 with The Ringer.

His other films include An Inspector Calls (1954), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Force 10 From Navarone (1978) and two Agatha Christie adaptations, The Mirror Crack’d (1980) and Evil Under the Sun (1982). But his solid gold -- in more ways that one -- contributions to the history of James Bond are what we will remember the most. Rest in peace, sir.