Lost pictures of stars to see light of day at last

THEY are a fascinating glimpse at the golden era of Hollywood which had been kept in a dusty filing cabinet for years.

But thousands of images, including pictures of Audrey Hepburn and Dirk Bogarde, which were taken by photographer George Douglas are to be exhibited for the first time.

The photographs were discovered at his Brighton home by neighbour and fellow photographer Roger Bamber, who inherited the property following his friend’s death.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The negatives, which had not seen the light of day for years, include images from the 1940s to the 1960s of Gary Cooper, former US president Harry Truman, Roger Moore and Peter Sellers.

There are also social and historical images of the period, including the Queen’s rat-catcher and Britain’s first female chimney sweep, Mr Bamber said.

Just 30 pictures from the archive will go on display at Mr Douglas’s former home in Sillwood Road as part of the Artists Open Houses festival in Brighton in May.

Photographer Nigel Swallow, who is now living in the property, said he is expecting it to take him at least a year for himself and Mr Bamber to sort through the photographs, and that he has taken advice as to how it can be properly archived.

Mr Swallow added: “It’s something that should be taken very good care of and I am chuffed that I have been asked to look after the archive.

“The first priority is making sure we preserve George’s work.”

Mr Douglas, whose nickname was Speedy George because of his fast-paced work ethic, was born in Rottingdean, East Sussex, but moved to Dallas, Texas, in 1939. He then worked for many years at Picture Post magazine which closed in 1957 and he turned to women’s magazines and the TV Mirror.

He spent much of his time in California, but would travel back to Brighton for summers. Mr Douglas retired to live there full-time in 2007 until his death in December 2010 at the age of 88.