British actor and filmmaker Lionel Jeffries has died at the age of 83, according to Variety. Jeffries had been suffering from a long illness in Poole, before passing away on February 19.
The actor had a long career, and was probably best known for his role as Dick Van Dyke's father in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -- quite the anomaly since Jeffries was actually young than Van Dyke, by a good six months. Ah, the wonder of cinema. He also played Inspector Parker opposite Peter Sellers' Pearly Gates in The Wrong Arm of the Law, Monsieur Brun in the Oscar-nominated Fanny, and my personal favorite -- Captain Sydney De Courcy Rhumstone in the wacky, Margaret Rutherford-starring Murder Ahoy (pictured above).
But he also made his mark behind the camera. Jeffries gravitated to family fare, and no feature earned as much success as first he wrote and directed in 1970 -- The Railway Children -- about a family who moves to the country when mysterious men take their father away. The feature was voted one of Britain's 100 best films by the British Film Institute in 1999.
May he rest in peace.
Seeing that the man had an impressive career spanning 51 years and 109 film and television roles, which was your favorite?