Peter Lorrimer Whitehead (born 8 January 1937, in Liverpool) is an English writer and filmmaker who documented the counterculture in London and New York in the late 1960s. He is also known for his work as a director of promotional film clips (precursors to the modern music video) including a version of "Interstellar Overdrive" for Pink Floyd and several clips for The Rolling Stones.
In 1997, Iain Sinclair collaborated with Chris Petit, sculptor Steve Dilworth and others to make The Falconer, a 56-minute semi-fictional "documentary" film about Whitehead, set in London and the Outer Hebrides. This film was described by Sinclair in 2003 as "Initially he (Whitehead) loved the film...his determination to tell his story was such that he kept bombarding us with amazing fragments and endless images, because he's one of the few people whose entire life was documented in images". The film also features Stewart Home, Kathy Acker and Howard Marks.
Whitehead's books include Nora (1990), Hartshead Revisited: A Fiction? (1993) and Bronte Gate (1999). His novels include The Risen (1994) and Terrorism Considered as One of the Fine Arts (2007).
In 1997 Whitehead published Baby Doll (Velvet, 1997), drawing on photographs he took in 1972 during production of his feature-length film Daddy (made with artist Niki de Saint Phalle). Many of the photographs are of model/actress/heiress Mia Martin (known for her appearances in the Benny Hill shows and Hammer films such as The Satanic Rites of Dracula). The writer Iain Sinclair said of these works "[Daddy is a] nightmarish film...shot in some chateau in France...unspeakable...I couldn't even bring myself to look at the material in the book".
He was married to Dido, the daughter of Teddy Goldsmith and niece of Sir James Goldsmith. The couple had a daughter, filmmaker and photographer Robin Whitehead. Robin died from a suspected drug overdose on 24 January 2010 at the age of 27. On 22 March 2010, friend and musician Pete Doherty among others were arrested under suspicions of supplying the drugs that led to her death.
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