Entertainment & Arts

Bullitt director Peter Yates dies at 81

Peter Yates pictured in 1984
Image caption Yates is survived by his wife Virginia Pope, a son and a daughter

British film-maker Peter Yates, who directed such movies as Bullitt and Summer Holiday, has died aged 81.

According to his agent, he died in London on Sunday after an illness.

Bullitt, released in 1968, featured a famous chase scene in which Steve McQueen drove a Ford Mustang through San Francisco.

Yates was nominated for the best director Oscar in 1980 for Breaking Away, and again in 1984 for The Dresser.

He is survived by his wife Virginia Pope, a son and a daughter.

The family will hold a private funeral, his agent Judy Daish continued.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Yates started out as an actor before becoming an assistant director on such films as The Guns of Navarone and A Taste of Honey.

He made his directorial debut in 1963 with Cliff Richard vehicle Summer Holiday, going on to make episodes of The Saint and Danger Man.

Image caption Bullitt features a famous car chase scene with Steve McQueen, pictured left

In 1967 he wrote and directed Robbery, a heist film inspired by the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

Bullitt, his first US film, followed a year later, casting McQueen as the head of a police unit guarding a man about to testify against his mobster brother.

Following its success, Yates worked with Mia Farrow and Dustin Hoffman on 1969 romantic drama John and Mary, and with Peter O'Toole on Murphy's War two years later.

His other films included The Friends of Eddie Coyle with Robert Mitchum, Mother, Jugs & Speed with Raquel Welch and The Deep starring Jacqueline Bisset.

Yates' 1979 film Breaking Away - a coming-of-age film about a high school graduate who competes in a cycling race - received Oscar nominations for best director and best picture.

So did 1983 drama The Dresser, which also saw its stars Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay nominated by the Academy.