John Van Eyssen

Active - 1950 - 2011  |   Born - Jan 1, 1925   |   Died - Nov 13, 1995   |   Genres - Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Comedy, Drama

Share on

Biography by Sandra Brennan

John Van Eyssen wore several hats during his long professional career -- including that of Shakespearean thespian, movie actor, literary agent, producer and studio executive. Born and raised in South Africa, Van Eyssen did not come to Great Britain until after WW II. Once in London, he studied drama at the Central School of Speech and Drama, winning a special prize before he graduated and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. From there, Van Eyssen branched out into radio, television and, beginning with The Angel with the Trumpet (1950), films. In 1958, he appeared as the world's most famous bloodsucker in Hammer Films' The Horror of Dracula. Van Eyssen abandoned acting in 1961 to become a literary agent for London Management. He proved to have a knack for the job and was quickly promoted to helm the literary department. He became so important that when the company merged with London Artists, he was in charge of handling Franco Zeffirelli, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller. Van Eyssen left the management business in 1965 to work at Columbia Pictures' UK division. Two years after his hiring, Van Eyssen was the managing director and was behind some of the studio's most popular British films, including To Sir With Love (1967), Born Free (1966) and Georgy Girl (1966). He left the studio in 1973 to work as an independent producer in New York, and in 1981, he produced Sidney Lumet's Daniel. Van Eyssen returned to England in 1991 and became an instrumental part of establishing Britain's premiere showcase for talented young filmmakers, the Chelsea Film Festival.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography