Michael Anderson, the British director famous for his work on 1976's cult classic Logan's Run and 1956's Around the World in 80 Days, died this past Wednesday in Vancouver, Canada. The director was 98. His death was reported today by Matthew Moore of The Times of London.
In addition to these seminal works in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, Anderson directed British war films such as The Dam Busters, The Yangste Incident, and Operation Crossbow. An action sequence in The Dam Busters, released in 1955, is often referred to as an inspiration for the ending of Star Wars: Episode IV, in which several X-wing pilots take turns trying to bring their explosive to the Death Star. Even some lines of dialogue used by George Lucas are the same as in Anderson's film, such as "Get set for your attack run!" and "Look at the size of that thing!"
But Anderson is, of course, extremely well known for his genre-defining 1976 dystopian sci-fi Logan's Run, which tapped into the "Don't trust anyone over 30" youth culture of the time and turned it on its head, envisioning a society 300 years in the future in which people were killed (to the tune of chants of "Renew!") when they reached that age.
Adapted from a book by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, the film inspired both a television show and comic from Marvel that ran seven issues. And genre fans also have Anderson to thank for the Dino De Laurentiis Jaws-alike film, Orca, the killer whale tale from 1977.
Before all that though, Anderson had already made his indelible mark with the epic fantasy adventure story Around the World in 80 Days, for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. Though he did not win the directorial award, the film itself won five statues, including Best Picture that year. In addition, the sprawling cinematic adapatation by Anderson, based on Jules Verne's 1873 novel detailing the efforts of adventurer Phileas Fogg to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days, set several records in real life to coincide with Fogg's fictional one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, at the time, Around the World featured the most people photographed in the highest number of countries for a film ever (140 people in 13 countries), the longest distance traveled to make a film (4 million air miles), and the most camera set-ups, sets, and costumes in a film.
Anderson is survived by his third wife, Adrianne Ellis, an actress, as well as stepdaughter Laurie Holden, who has had recurring roles on The X-Files, The Shield, and The Walking Dead. He is also survived by a son, the actor Michael Anderson, Jr., who appeared in Logan's Run as Doc, and a stepson, Christopher Holden. And he is predeceased by son David C. Anderson, who was an assistant director on three of the first four James Bond films.