The photos, which date from the 1940s, include portraits of stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Peter Sellers and Gary Cooper.

Audrey Hepburn [Picture: Copyright Roger Bamber]

The negatives were found in a ‘dilapidated filing cabinet’ at Douglas’s home in Brighton, by fellow photographer Roger Bamber who inherited his house and archive.

Another Brighton photographer, Nigel Swallow – who is setting up a studio there – is exploring the collection and reprinting 30, largely unseen, images for an exhibition at the house as part of the Brighton Artists Open Houses festival in May.

A spokeswoman for the festival told AP: ‘This is the tip of the iceberg… They reckon it will take a good few months to go through the whole archive… A five-drawer cabinet is stuffed to the gills with negs and images.’

Douglas’s career began when he bought a Leica camera from a pawnshop and sold his first picture for $30 after moving to Dallas, Texas in 1939 with his mother.

The East Sussex-born photographer sold images to the Los Angeles Times in the 1940s, heading up the photography unit at the Sun Valley News Bureau, based in Idaho, from 1948.

It was a portrait of actress Angela Lansbury, captured for Life magazine in 1949, that kick-started his career as a celebrity photographer.

Angela Lansbury and husband Peter Shaw [Picture: Copyright Roger Bamber]

Douglas returned to England in 1950 where he worked for Picture Post.

The exhibition will be open over each weekend in May; at 14 Silwood Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 2LF.

2014 is the 50th consecutive year that the Silwood Road property has been lived in by a photographer.

For festival details visit

Peter Sellers [Picture: Copyright Roger Bamber]