Geoff Wonfor, who directed the Beatles’ Grammy-winning Anthology documentary, has died at the age of 73 on November 22, his daughter confirmed.
Geoff Wonfor was working on the British pop music TV show “The Tube” in the eighties, when in 1986 he was asked to direct a documentary about the making of the Handmade film “Shanghai Surprise”, starring Madonna and Sean Penn. With the title “Handmade in Hong Kong – The Making of Shanghai Surprise”, The Tube-presenter Paula Yates took viewers behind the scenes of this movie, and interviewed the movie makers. One of these was the executive producer of the film, George Harrison, who also wrote and performed the songs in the film as well as appearing in a cameo as a nightclub singer.
This documentary may have been Wonfor’s entry ticket to The Beatles’ circle, which eventually landed him in the role of taking care of Neil Aspinall’s unfinished “The Long And Winding Road” project, which evolved into “The Beatles Anthology” TV-series and later video cassette / laser disc / DVD edits (and still not on blu-ray, Apple Corps).
Geoff Wonfor spent five years working on the eight part documentary series, first televised in 1995, and containing the new Beatles tunes, John Lennon’s “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love”. Wonfor also directed the music video for the latter song, together with Kevin Godley.
In 1997 Wonfor directed music videos (“Young Boy”, “The World Tonight”) for Paul McCartney’s “Flaming Pie” album, as well as a “making of” documentary for the album, “Paul McCartney in the world tonight”. In 1999, he directed the concert film of McCartney’s end-of-century star studded appearance at the new Cavern Club.
Confirming his passing in his native Newcastle, England, Wonfor’s daughter Sam said: “He was a one-off – a huge presence with a heart to match. His warmth, humor and encyclopedic capacity for remembering jokes of all qualities ensured people who met him rarely forgot him – and that has been borne out by the wave of wonderful messages and tributes we’ve received since his passing. He loved what he did and we’re so very grateful he got to continue doing it to the end.”
Source: Ultimate Classic Rock