Roy Ward Baker
Baker in 1961
Roy Horace Baker

(1916-12-19)19 December 1916
London, England
Died5 October 2010(2010-10-05) (aged 93)
London, England
Other namesRoy Baker
OccupationFilm director
Years active1947–1992
Muriel Bradford
(m. 1940; div. 1944)
Joan Dixon
(m. 1948; div. 1984)

Roy Ward Baker (born Roy Horace Baker; 19 December 1916 – 5 October 2010) was an English film director.[1]

He was known professionally as Roy Baker until 1967, when he adopted Roy Ward Baker as his screen credit.

Early life

Baker was born in Hornsey, London, where his father was a Billingsgate wholesale fish merchant. He was educated at a Lycée in Rouen, France, and at the City of London School.


Baker's first job, in 1933 aged 17, was in the mail room at the Columbia Gramophone Company.[2]: 6  From 1934 to 1939, he worked for Gainsborough Pictures, a British film production company based in Islington, London. His first jobs were menial, and he progressed rapidly to location scouting and second-unit directing. In 1938 he was appointed assistant director on Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938).

He served in the Army during the Second World War, joining the Army Kinematograph Service in 1943 as a production manager and director of documentaries. One of his superiors was novelist Eric Ambler, who gave Baker his first big break directing The October Man (1947), from an Ambler screenplay.

His next two films, The Weaker Sex (1948) and Paper Orchid (1949), were popular but overshadowed by the success of Morning Departure (1950). The latter drew international attention to Baker and Darryl F. Zanuck, production head of 20th Century Fox, invited him to Hollywood, although his first film for Fox – I'll Never Forget You (1951) – was made in the UK.[3] Baker worked for three years at Fox where he directed Marilyn Monroe in Don't Bother to Knock (1952) and Robert Ryan in the 3D film noir Inferno (1953). He returned to the UK in 1953 and continued to work in films.[3]

Baker worked for television during the 1960s and early 1970s, directing shows including The Avengers, The Saint, The Persuaders!, The Champions, and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). He continued to work in films, directing, among others, Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Vampire Lovers (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970) for Hammer, and Asylum (1972) and The Vault of Horror (1973) for Amicus. He also directed Bette Davis in the black comedy The Anniversary (1968), and co-directed (with Hong Kong director Chang Cheh) the Hammer-Shaw Brothers Studio collaboration The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).

In the latter part of the 1970s he returned to television, and throughout the 1980s continued to work on shows including The Irish R.M. and Minder. He retired in 1992.

In 2000, Baker published his memoirs, The Director's Cut: A Memoir of 60 Years in Film and Television,[2] and in 2002 sold his production files and letters at auction.

He contributed interviews to several DVD extras, such as those included with The Saint and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), and took part in the BBC2 Two series British Film Forever (2007)[4] and in Mark Gatiss's BBC Four series, A History of Horror (2010),[5] in which he gave his final recorded interview.

Change of name

In the early 1960s, Baker became aware of name confusion with another Roy Baker in the industry, a dubbing editor. After nothing came of his suggestion that the editor change his name, in 1967 Baker changed his own screen credit, adopting his mother's maiden name "Ward".[2]: 122,125 

Personal life and death

Baker was married to Muriel Bradford from 1940 to 1944. In 1948, he married Joan Dixon, with whom he had a son. They divorced in 1984.[3][6]

Baker died on 5 October 2010, aged 93.[1][3][6]


Baker directed A Night to Remember (1958) which won a Golden Globe for Best English-Language Foreign Film in 1959.[7]

Filmography (as director)

Films credited to Roy Baker are marked *. Films made by the Army Kinematograph Service are marked AKS.

Television (as director)

Productions credited to Roy Baker are marked *


  1. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (8 October 2010). "Roy Ward Baker, Prolific British Filmmaker, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Baker, Roy Ward (2000). The Director's Cut: A Memoir of 60 Years in Film and Television. London: Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1-903111-02-1.
  3. ^ a b c d Wallance, Tom (21 October 2021). "Roy Ward Baker: Director who worked on thrillers, drama, horror and science-fiction but is best known for 'A Night to Remember'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  4. ^ "British Film Forever: Guns, Gangsters and Getaways: the Story of the British Thriller". BBC Programme Index. 28 July 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  5. ^ "A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss, Episode 2: Home Counties Horror". BBC Programme Index. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Roy Ward Baker". The Telegraph. 8 October 2010. Archived from the original on 25 January 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Roy Ward Baker". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 7 October 2023.