One hundred years ago, in Hampstead, legendary film and stage director Peter Glenville was born. This November sees the start of a series of events to celebrate the centenary of one of the area’s most famous sons.

Renowned for his Academy and BAFTA-winning 1964 film adaptation of Becket, starring Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and John Gielgud, he made – and continues to make – an outstanding and often under-acknowledged contribution to the world of film and theatre.

With this in mind, big names in those worlds will come together to mark the occasion, including Kevin Spacey and James Earl Jones.

“Glenville was much loved in Theatreland and in Hollywood,” says event curator Martyn Auty. “Having been an actor himself – a matinee idol indeed – he was an actor’s director par excellence. Among those who knew what a true director should be like, his name was spoken with acclaim and admiration.”

Peter Glenville started his acting career in 1930s London but by the mid-1940s had made the transition into directing, and it was here he would make his biggest impact.

From the mid-1950s to the early ‘70s, he enjoyed a prolific career on Broadway and in Hollywood, directing big names including Elizabeth Taylor, Alec Guinness and Laurence Olivier. He was nominated for four Tony Awards, two Golden Globes, one Academy Award, one Golden Lion Award, and one Director’s Guild nomination for Summer and Smoke.

He died in New York in June 1996.

The events to celebrate his life include an exhibition of stills taken during his career, at The Old Vic’s Pit Bar, and screenings of a number of his films.

There will also be a Peter Glenville symposium, chaired by Guardian columnist Mark Lawson, with a board comprised of Richard Eyre, Michael Billington, Lady Pamela Harlech and Laurence Rosenthal, and a Q&A session with Rita Moreno of West Side Story fame, who also starred in Glenville’s Summer and Smoke.

  • Peter Glenville 1913-2013 takes place at various venues from November 1-3, with the exhibition of photographs continuing until mid-December. Details: