It’s hard to believe that as big as the James Bond franchise is now, there was a time when it was still trying to find its footing. Then Goldfinger came out, and many fans point to that as one of the defining moments in the franchise. Goldfinger remains one of the most influential James Bond films of all time, and perhaps one of the greatest works of director Guy Hamilton.
Sadly, it’s been revealed that Hamilton passed away at the age of 93. The director died in a hospital near his home on the Spanish island of Mallorca, though the cause of death was not revealed.
According to EW, it was former Bond actor Sir Roger Moore who announced Hamilton’s passing. Hamilton directed Moore in two Bond films, Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun. Posting the news on Twitter, Moore commented that Hamilton was a “wonderful director” and lamented that 2016 has been horrid in regard to the numerous talented individuals that we’ve lost.
Incredibly, incredibly saddened to hear the wonderful director Guy Hamilton has gone to the great cutting room in the sky. 2016 is horrid.— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) April 21, 2016
In total, Hamilton directed four James Bond films: Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, and Diamonds Are Forever. Though he’s perhaps best known for his Bond work, he also directed 18 other films between 1952 and 1989 including Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. He also served as assistant director on 11 films in the 40s and 50s, including Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn’s The African Queen.
Not only did Hamilton help to shape the Bond franchise, but he had a major impact on popular culture as well. Goldfinger really catapulted James Bond into the public consciousness, and the stylings of Bond in that film impacted how we view cinematic spies to this day. Major aspects of the spy genre may have been drastically different if not for Hamilton’s vision when working with Sean Connery and Roger Moore in the 60s and 70s.
Hamilton’s final film was 1989’s Try This One for Size, an often forgotten crime caper based on the book of the same name. He was approached to direct Batman, though he declined and that film eventually went to Tim Burton. Reportedly, Hamilton was critical of newer Bond films, stating in 2003 that the movies of that era relied too much on special effects instead of stunts and physical effects. It’s unknown if he had an opinion on the more recent “gritty” Bond films made by Daniel Craig.
Hamilton was married twice, first to actress Naomi Chance (who passed away in 2003) and then to French actress Kerima. He will be missed by his fans and those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.
R.I.P. Guy Hamilton, September 16, 1922 – April 20, 2016