Cult French movie maker Jacques Deray has died at his home outside Paris of an unspecified illness.

Deary, who was 74, was often called the French Alfred Hitchcock for his masterful use of the thriller genre.

His film-making career stretched back to the 1960s, and he directed some of France's biggest film stars, including Romy Schneider, Charlotte Rampling and Alain Delon, his favourite actor.

One of his best-known films was LA PISCINE (The Swimming Pool), a 1968 drama set in a villa in the beach resort of Saint-Tropez, which starred Delon.

Other films included LE GIGOLO (1960), DU RIFIFI A TOKYO (1961) and SYMPHONIE POUR UN MASSACRE (1963).

His English-language films also saw him work with Hollywood stars such as Roy Scheider, ANN MARGRET, George Hamilton and Nastassja Kinski.

He is survived by a wife and a daughter.

11/08/2003 17:28