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'Cape Fear' Director Thompson Dies

'Cape Fear' Director Thompson Dies

British director J. Lee Thompson has died of congestive heart failure. He was 88. The Bristol, England-born movie-maker passed away on Friday in Sooke, British Columbia, Canada, where he was spending the summer as he did most years. Thompson was a bantamweight boxer and a B-29 tailgunner during World War II before starting his film career in 1950 when he directed Murder Without Crime. He worked with Gregory Peck on several movies including the original Cape Fear movie as well as Anthony Quinn in The Greek Tycoon. Co-producer Pancho Kohner says, "He was a very large directorial presence. He was a gentleman and such a pleasure to work with. Everyone who worked with him once wanted to work with him again and again. Working with Lee, you were spoiled. He had the uncanny ability to play the film in his mind. He would know exactly what shot he needed so there was no wasted effort. He was a talented craftsman." Thompson is survived by his wife of 40 years, Penny, a daughter and a granddaughter.