John Lee Thompson (1 August 1914 – 30 August 2002), better known as J. Lee Thompson, was an English film director, active in England and Hollywood.
Thompson was born in Bristol, England to a theatrical family. After studying at Dover College, he briefly appeared on the stage and wrote crime plays in his spare time. Thompson first drew critical notice when his play Double Error was staged on the West End of London in 1935, upon which he was hired as a scriptwriter for British International Pictures, acquirer of the play’s film rights. During this initial BIP stint, Thompson made his only film appearance in the Carol Reed-directed Midshipman Easy (1935) and worked as a dialogue coach for Alfred Hitchcock’s production of Jamaica Inn (1939).
The small-framed Englishman was occupied during World War II as a tailgunner and wireless operator for the Royal Air Force. He eventually returned to his scriptwriting duties at the Associated British Picture Corporation, a successor of… read more