Anthony Simmons (writer)

Anthony Simmons (16 December 1922 – 22 January 2016) was a British writer and film director. He was associated with, though separate from, the Free Cinema movement;[1] he said he was greatly influenced by Humphrey Jennings and by Michelangelo Antonioni’s movie Il Grido (1957).[2]

Anthony Simmons
Born(1922-12-16)16 December 1922
West Ham, London, England
Died22 January 2016(2016-01-22) (aged 93)
Pen nameTony Simmons
Occupationnovelist, short story writer, screenwriter, director
NationalityBritish

Early lifeEdit

Simmons was born in West Ham, the fourth of five children – three boys and two girls – to parents of Polish extraction, Miriam (née Corb) and Joseph Simmons (originally Anzulowsky), from a family of market traders. He was named Isidore but adopted the forename Anthony in his teens. After attending West Ham Grammar School, Simmons gained a law degree from the London School of Economics, where his course was interrupted by wartime service.

CareerEdit

Simmons asserted: "I wasn’t aiming to be a film director. I was a lawyer aiming to be a writer. But I felt that if I wrote films it was more immediate. It’s quicker. You haven’t got to spell out the words, you just make the image and tell the story."[3]

His documentary Sunday by the Sea (1951) won the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival.[1] Four in the Morning (1965), his second feature film as director, did not gain a circuit release although it won awards at several international film festivals, and a BAFTA for Judi Dench as the 'Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles'.[4]

For several years Simmons worked in radio and made television commercials until his next feature The Optimists of Nine Elms (1973) starring Peter Sellers.[5] His feature movie Black Joy (1977) was entered into the Cannes Film Festival.[6] His television drama On Giant's Shoulders (1979) about Terry Wiles won an Emmy Award.[5]

He also directed episodes of British television series including The Professionals, Supergran, Inspector Morse, Van Der Valk, A Touch of Frost and C.A.T.S. Eyes.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Simmons married twice. With his first wife, Sheila Phillips, he had three sons, Jonathan, Daniel and Mathew; the couple divorced. He is survived by his second wife, Maria St Clare, whom he married in 1981, and their three sons, Luke, Noah and Micah.

FilmographyEdit

  • Sunday by the Sea – documentary short – director/writer (1951)
  • Bow Bells – documentary short – director/writer (1953)
  • Passing Stranger – feature – co-writer (1954)
  • Time Without Pity – feature – producer (1957)
  • Your Money or Your Wife – feature – director (1960)
  • Four in the Morning – feature – director/writer (1965)
  • The Optimists of Nine Elms – feature – director/co-writer (1973), based on his novel The Optimists of Nine Elms
  • Black Joy – feature – director/co-writer (1977)
  • Green Ice – feature – co-writer (1981)
  • Little Sweetheart – feature – director/writer (1989)

Books writtenEdit

  • Simmons, Anthony (1992). A little Space for Issie Brown. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-271652-2.
  • Simmons, Anthony (1965). The Optimists of Nine Elms. Knopf Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-19-271652-2.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Dolan, Josephine; Spicer, Andrew (2008). "Journal of British Cinema and Television". Journal of British Cinema and Television. 5: 132–145. doi:10.3366/E1743452108000113. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  2. ^ Dolan, Josephine; Spicer, Andrew (2008). "Journal of British Cinema and Television". Journal of British Cinema and Television. 5: 135. doi:10.3366/E1743452108000113. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  3. ^ Dolan, Josephine; Spicer, Andrew (2008). "Journal of British Cinema and Television". Journal of British Cinema and Television. 5: 134. doi:10.3366/E1743452108000113. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  4. ^ "BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org.
  5. ^ a b Dolan, Josephine; Spicer, Andrew (2008). "Journal of British Cinema and Television". Journal of British Cinema and Television. 5: 133. doi:10.3366/E1743452108000113. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Black Joy". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Anthony Simmons (1922–2016)".

External linksEdit