Don Chaffey, the British-born movie and TV director who brought several Walt Disney features to the screen, has died in his sleep at his New Zealand home, it was reported last week.
Ronnie Leif, his agent, said Chaffey was 73 when he died, apparently of heart disease, on Nov. 9 on Kawau Island.
Chaffey began as an assistant in the art department at Britain’s Gainsborough Pictures in 1944 and by 1946 was an art director. In 1950, he directed his first film, the children’s feature “The Mysterious Poacher,” winning honors at the Venice (film) Festival.
When not directing such adventure pictures as “Danger Within” or “One Million Years B. C.,” Raquel Welch’s first feature film, Chaffey continued to turn out children’s productions, among them “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Magic of Lassie,” with Jimmy Stewart, “The Three Lives of Thomasina” and “Ride a Wild Pony.”
He also was prolific on the smaller screen, directing many episodes of “Mission Impossible,” “Matt Houston,” “T. J. Hooker,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Fantasy Island” and many more.
His TV movies include “Gift of the Magi,” “Lassie” and “Male Model.”
Survivors include his wife, actress Paula Kelly, a daughter, and a grandchild.