Alexander Mackendrick, director of classic British comedies such as "The Ladykillers" and the American drama "Sweet Smell of Success," died of pneumonia Wednesday. He was 81.

With his directing debut in "Whisky Galore" in 1949, Mackendrick established himself as a player in classic British comedy.Alec Guinness starred in "The Ladykillers" in 1955. "Sweet Smell of Success" in 1956 starred Burt Lancaster.

Mackendrick's other movies included "A Boy 10 Feet Tall," "The Man in the White Suit," "A High Wind in Jamaica," "Don't Make Waves" and "Mandy."

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He moved to the United States in 1955. In 1969, he founded the film school at the California Institute of the Arts.

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