Best known for directing the Seven Up! documentary series, he also made the controversial 1970 films The Act of the Heart and Journey.
He toured with a Shakespearean company before joining The BBC as a director.
He made three art films that are now recognized as important contributions to Canada's culture.
He was married to the ballet dancer Genevieve Bujold from 1967 to 1973.
He adapted the works of Jane Austen and others for television.