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LONDON (AP) A family spokesman says British film director Bryan Forbes, whose work includes the original 1970s horror classic "The Stepford Wives," has died after a long illness.

Matthew D'Ancona said Wednesday that Forbes died at age 86 surrounded by his family at his home in Surrey, England.

Forbes began his film career as an actor, but he became best known as director of "Whistle Down the Wind," the 1961 movie about children who come across an escaped convict and mistake him for Jesus, and "The Stepford Wives," about sinisterly perfect suburban housewives.

He was the screenwriter for "Chaplin," the 1992 biopic of Charlie Chaplin starring Robert Downey Jr.

Forbes was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2004 for services to the arts.