Family & Companions
After getting his start as an actor in English theatrical productions, Charles Jarrott continued his acting career in Canada, before directing for televised theater, feature films, and TV movies. Born in London to a stage-actress mother and racecar-driver father, he first worked behind the scenes and then as an actor and director with the Nottingham Repertory. Moving to Canada in 1953, he began acting in anthology TV series, also dabbling in producing, before narrowing his focus to directing. In the '60s, he directed an adaptation of the Harold Pinter play "Tea Party" for the BBC and several episodes of "The Wednesday Play," known for giving burgeoning directors and writers (such as Dennis Potter) the chance to develop their craft. Winning the attention and support of renowned producer Hal B. Wallis (of "Casablanca" fame,) Jarrott moved into features, beginning with "Anne of the Thousand Days," the 1969 dramatic account of Henry VIII abandoning his wife for Anne Boleyn, starring Richard Burton as the embittered king. The film earned numerous Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe for Jarrott's direction. Jarrott's subsequent work included period piece "Mary, Queen of Scots" and a musical version of "Lost Horizon," based on the James Hilton novel. The latter disappointed both critics and audiences, steering Jarrott's career to lower-profile pictures, though he continued to work steadily, often on TV movies such as the biopic "Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter."