London-born Nicolas Roeg served in the military as a projectionist, and entered the movie industry immediately after World War II as a gofer and apprentice editor. He joined MGM's British studios in 1950, and eventually became a cinematographer in 1959, working on a multitude of films of all types, from second unit work on Lawrence of Arabia (1962) to primary photography on the rock & roll exploitation films Just for Fun (1963), Every Day's a Holiday (1965), and The System (1966). He moved into the director's chair with Performance (1970), which he co-directed with Donald Cammell, and made a major impression with the low-keyed, eerily compelling drama Walkabout (1971). By the mid-'70s, Roeg was one of England's most respected filmmakers, responsible for the unsettling thriller Don't Look Now (1973), and the sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). With the possible exception Insignificance (1985) and the compellingly obscure Track 29 (1988) Roeg's output throughout the 1980s unfortunately failed to maintain the inspired creativity of his output in the previous decade.
In 1990 Roeg showed promise for the new decade with what was perhaps his most successful film to date, the visually lavish family fantasy The Witches. A wonderfully creative take on acclaimed author Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, the film showcased Roeg's remarkable visual flair in a format suitable for the whole family. Unfortunately the film wasn't a true indicator for his output in the remainder of the decade. Despite the fact that his pace lagged somewhat after The Witches, 1994's Heart of Darkness did offer an interesting take on Joseph Conrad's novel, and those who suspected Full Body Massage was nothing more than made-for-cable softcore were actually treated to a thoughtful meditation on intimacy and human relations. In 2004 Roeg was set to make a return to the horror genre with the philosophical chiller Adina. Nicolas Roeg's son has gained fame in the film industry in his own right as the producer of such efforts as The Matchmaker (1997) and Spider (2002).