30 September 1927|
|Died||21 March 2012(aged 84)|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, production designer|
Born in London, Fuest served a period of time in post-war Germany with the Royal Air Force in National Service air-lifting coal over the Berlin Wall, after which he attended Wimbledon and Hornsey Schools of Art. For a time he lectured at Southampton College of Art. Fuest also spent time as a drummer in a warm-up band for Chris Barber and George Melly.
In the early sixties he designed sets for a variety of different TV programmes including ITV Play of the Week and Armchair Theatre. It was whilst working on the first season of the new spy series The Avengers for director Peter Hammond that Fuest developed the directing bug. Fuest later admitted on a DVD commentary for The Avengers episode "Game" that Hammond's visual style proved a major influence and opened him up to the stylistic possibilities of film and TV.
His first film was Just Like a Woman made in 1967, starring Wendy Craig. He also wrote it. His work on this film brought him to the attention of The Avengers producer Albert Fennell who offered him the chance to direct episodes. He would direct seven episodes in total, including "My Wildest Dream", "Game", "They Keep Killing Steed", "The Rotters", "Take Me to Your Leader", "Pandora" and "Take Over". When the series was later revived as The New Avengers, Fuest was invited back to direct two more episode, namely "The Midas Touch" and "The Tale of the Big Why".
In further television work, Fuest handled productions on both sides of the Atlantic, including Revenge of the Stepford Wives, ABC Weekend Special, ABC Afterschool Specials, The Doombolt Chase, C.A.T.S. Eyes and Worlds Beyond.
Fuest's most highly praised and popular films, which feature strong black comedy elements, include cult favorites The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) (which he co-wrote), and The Final Programme (aka The Last Days of Man on Earth) (1973). In addition to directing The Final Programme, he also wrote the screenplay and designed the sets.
Other films include And Soon the Darkness (1970), a straightforward suspense thriller that received considerable critical acclaim but little commercial success, written by Avengers writers Brian Clemens and Terry Nation, and The Devil's Rain (1975), a horror film shot in Mexico. The latter movie received such scathing reviews it may arguably have killed off his once promising career, as Fuest immediately thereafter found himself relegated to directing fairly anonymous television work. His only subsequent theatrical release was Aphrodite (1982), a softcore sex movie filmed in Greece.
- Just Like a Woman (1967)
- Wuthering Heights (1970)
- And Soon the Darkness (1970)
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
- Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
- The Final Programme (1973)
- The Devil's Rain (1975)
- Three Dangerous Ladies (1977)
- Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980)
- Aphrodite (1982)