Australian-born director Don Sharp has died aged 89. The Tasmanian jobbing actor moved to England in 1949 and earned a number of minor roles until he turned his hand to writing and directing during the 1950s. Sharp’s early directorial efforts were mostly forgotten b-movies and action-adventure tv series, however, his skill at working on tight budgets brought him to the attention of cash-strapped Hammer who signed him up to direct The Kiss of the Vampire (1963). The switch to horror would prove fruitful as Sharp next turned his hand to the effective pagan chiller Witchcraft (1964), featuring the fading American actor Lon Cha ney Jnr. He was regarded as a capable safe-pair-of-hands and throughout the 60s helmed a number of workmanlike horrors including Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966) and the ‘Fu Manchu’ series. As horror fell out of fashion in the 70s, Sharp proved himself an effective action-adventure director with well-handled sequences in the big-screen version of Callan (1974), The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978) and the all-star Bear Island (1979). By the 1980s, the sixty-year-old veteran director found himself mostly limited to slushy American made-for-tv movies.