Peter Yates, Director of Bullitt, Dead at 81
Peter Yates, who sent Steve McQueen screeching through the streets of San Francisco in a Ford Mustang in "Bullitt," has died at the age of 81.
Yates was nominated for four Academy Awards - two as director and two as producer - for the cycling tale "Breaking Away" and the backstage drama "The Dresser."
A graduate of London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Yates directed stage greats including "Dresser" star Albert Finney and Maggie Smith as well as creating one of the film world's most memorable action sequences _ the much-imitated car chase in the 1968 police thriller "Bullitt."
A statement from Yates' agent, Judy Daish, said he died Sunday in London after an illness.
Born in Aldershot, southern England in 1929, Yates trained as an actor, performed in repertory theater and did a stint as a race-car driver before moving into film. He began as an editor and then became an assistant director on films including Tony Richardson's "A Taste of Honey" and J. Lee Thompson's "The Guns of Navarone."
His first film as a director was the frothy 1963 musical "Summer Holiday" starring Cliff Richard - a singer billed, optimistically, as the "British Elvis."
Yates also directed "Robbery," based on the real 1963 heist known as the "Great Train Robbery," which marked him as a talented director of action sequences.