Richard Lester

Director, Producer, Composer
A visually dazzling and witty filmmaker whose hyperkinetic films helped to shape the look and pace of 1960s-era cinema, Richard Lester was the creative force behind the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) and "Help!" ... Read more »
Born: 01/19/1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Director (22)

Get Back 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

The Return of the Musketeers 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Finders Keepers 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Superman III 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Superman II 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Butch and Sundance: The Early Days 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Cuba 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Robin and Marian 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Royal Flash 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

The Ritz 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Juggernaut 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

The Four Musketeers 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

The Three Musketeers 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

The Bed Sitting Room 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Petulia 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

How I Won the War 1967 (Movie)

(Director)

Help! 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

The Knack... and How to Get It 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

A Hard Day's Night 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

The Mouse on the Moon 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

It's Trad, Dad! 1960 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (6)

Watching the Detectives 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Producer

Alex's Apartment 1991 (Movie)

(Co-Producer)

Finders Keepers 1984 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Bed Sitting Room 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

How I Won the War 1967 (Movie)

(Producer)

It's Trad, Dad! 1960 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (4)

Richard Lester! 1997 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Butch and Sundance: The Early Days 1979 (Movie)

Man Looking Askance at Laughing Hearse. (Actor)

The Knack... and How to Get It 1965 (Movie)

Man in Street (Actor)

Biography

A visually dazzling and witty filmmaker whose hyperkinetic films helped to shape the look and pace of 1960s-era cinema, Richard Lester was the creative force behind the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) and "Help!" (1965), as well as such crowd-pleasing hits as "The Knack And How to Get It" (1965), "The Three Musketeers" (1973) and "Superman II" (1981). After cutting his teeth on American television, Lester relocated to England, where he attracted the attention of Peter Sellers. Their numerous collaborations included the Oscar-nominated short "The Running Jumping Standing Still Film" (1959) which featured many of his trademark flourishes, including visual non-sequiters, a taste for unbridled slapstick and absurdity, and a rapid but precise editing style that won numerous fans, including The Beatles. His work with the pop icons made him a leading figure in British film, where his youthful, anarchic approach found favor around the world. A brief career spiral was thwarted by the success of the big-budget "Musketeers" films, as well as "Superman II," though his comic approach rankled many ardent comic book fans. Lester's exuberance and experimentation was later adopted by countless filmmakers, as well as the music video genre, which borrowed wholesale from his Beatles films. Though occasionally dismissed as a shameless comedy shill, Lester's best work brimmed with an energy and charm that remained untouchable, even after five decades.

Relationships

Elliott Lester

Father

Ella Lester

Mother

Diedre Smith

Wife
married 1956

EDUCATION

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 1947 - 1951
member of theatrical groups; composed music for revues; formed jazz combo, The Vocal Group, in senior year

William Penn Charter School

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 1947
graduated aged 15

began grade school aged three

Milestones

1969

Began directing TV commercials in Europe

1966

US feature directing debut, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

1961

Feature directing debut, "It's Trad, Dad/Ring-a-Ding Rhythm"

1959

Short film directing debut (also actor), "The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film"

1956

After marriage, left England, worked in TV in Canada and then Australia; after about a year returned to England and began collaborating (directing, co-writing) with Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan on TV series "Idiot's Weekly, Price Twopence," "A Show Ca

1955

Moved to Great Britain; wrote TV musical "Curtains for Harry" (broadcast by Associated Rediffusion); had own short-lived TV show, "The Dick Lester Show"; directed "Downbeat," a series of jazz programs for Associated Rediffusion

1954

Moved to Europe as roving newspaper reporter; supported himself as jazz pianist in Europe and North Africa

Began reading aged three; taught self piano aged 12, became a jazz aficionado

Performed (with The Vocal Group), floor managed and assistant directed at local Philadelphia TV station (WCAU); graduated to director within one year

Bonus Trivia

.

In his early work (e.g. "The Dick Lester Show") Lester was credited as Dick Lester.

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