Ronald Neame, on set

Director Ronald Neame shooting 1957's "Windom's Way."

Ronald Neame, a prominent figure in the British film industry whose long and varied career included producing the 1940s classics "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist" and directing films such as "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and "The Poseidon Adventure," has died. He was 99.

Neame, who also directed Judy Garland's final film, "I Could Go on Singing," died Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his wife, Donna. He was injured in a fall May 6 and had two operations on his leg, but his health kept declining after the second operation, she said.

"He was such a talented man and very good at making huge and bold decisions," Shirley MacLaine, who starred with Michael Caine in the 1966 Neame-directed movie "Gambit," told The Times on Friday. "I'd see him every few years at different functions; one of my favorites. Ninety-nine: a good goal for all of us."

Lawrence Turman, who produced "I Could Go on Singing," described Neame in an interview with The Times last year as "a real long-lived, old-timey pro who came up the hard way doing everything. A lovely man, by the way — very gentle, never somehow raised his voice or got angry."

Neame, whose career lasted more than six decades and included a job as an assistant cameraman on England's first sound film — Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 crime thriller "Blackmail" — when he was 17, rose through the ranks to become a director of photography at 24.

He went on to photograph films such as director Gabriel Pascal's version of the George Bernard Shaw comedy "Major Barbara" (1941), the David Lean- and Noel Coward-directed patriotic wartime drama "In Which We Serve" (1942) and the Lean-directed adaptation of the Coward play "Blithe Spirit" (1945).

As a cinematographer, Neame shared an Academy Award nomination with sound designer C.C. Stevens for special effects in 1943 for the World War II drama "One of Our Aircraft Is Missing."

In 1944, Neame joined Lean and producer Anthony Havelock-Allan to form a production company, Cineguild.

Over the next several years, Neame was a producer on the Lean-directed "Brief Encounter," "Great Expectations," "Oliver Twist" and "The Passionate Friends." He also produced the John Boulting-directed biographical drama "The Magic Box."

As a screenwriter, Neame shared Oscar nominations with Lean and Havelock-Allan for their screenplays for "Brief Encounter" and "Great Expectations."

For their 1946 screen adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," Neame recalled in a 2003 interview with The Times, he and Lean "wrote the basic screenplay in two weeks in a little hotel room in Cornwall whilst our wives walked along the beach or went shopping.

"We were absolutely brutal with the book. We'd drop wonderful characters and look up and say, 'Oh, Charlie, we hope you don't mind.' "

Their efforts in bringing the Dickens classic to the screen resulted in a best picture Oscar nomination.

In 1947, Neame launched his career as a director with the murder mystery "Take My Life."

He went on to direct two dozen more films over the next four decades, including "The Horse's Mouth," "Tunes of Glory," "The Man Who Never Was," "The Chalk Garden," "Gambit," "Prudence and the Pill," " Scrooge," "The Odessa File," "Meteor," "Hopscotch" and "First Monday in October."

Along the way, Neame also directed Maggie Smith's Oscar-winning performance in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969).

Neame was born in London on April 23, 1911. His father, Elwin, was a well-known London photographer who had photographed the finalists of a newspaper-sponsored world beauty contest and wound up marrying the young winner, Ivy Close, who became an instant celebrity.

"Well, of course, my mother immediately got offers to act on the screen," Neame recalled in a 1978 interview with The Times. "My father at that time thought he would like to make films — and they made a few films together."

Neame's mother went on to star in numerous silent films, including a dozen comedies for the famed Kalem Company in the United States.