CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Film director Henry Koster, whose credits include 'Harvey' and 'My Man Godfrey,' died of complications following liver surgery, his family said Thursday. He was 83.
Koster, who initially was admitted to Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo in August for a gall bladder operation, never recovered from his subsequent liver surgery and died Wednesday, his son, Robert, said.
Koster, born Hermann Kosterlitz, began his film career in Germany in 1925 but fled the country one week after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, his son said.
The director worked on films in Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest and Vienna until he was hired in 1936 by Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures.
Koster's American credits include 'Harvey' (1950), starring Jimmy Stewart as a tippler whose companion is a 6-foot invisible rabbit, and 'My Man Godfrey' (1957) with David Niven and June Allyson.
'I think of all the films he made, the one he liked best was 'Harvey,'' Robert Koster said. 'The Jimmy Stewart character in that film showed a part of his personality and everybody's, a kind of universal, whimsical quality that appealed to him.'
Other directorial efforts included 'Three Smart Girls,' 'One Hundred Men and a Girl,' 'Music for Millions,' 'The Inspector General,' 'The Robe,' 'A Man Called Peter,' 'The Naked Maja' and 'Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.'
Koster married actress Kato King in Budapest but the couple was divorced in 1940 following the birth of Robert. He is survived by his second wife, actress Peggy Moran, and another son, Peter.
A private memorial service is being planned with cremation and burial at sea to follow.