Oscar Winning Director Milos Forman Has Died At 86

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Milos Forman, a two-time Oscar winner for Best Director for his work on the films One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus has passed away. According to his agent, Forman passed away on Friday in Connecticut after a short illness. The director was 86 years old and was best known in Hollywood for his films that challenged authority with a satirical bent.

Milos Forman was born in Caslav, on Feb. 18, 1932. Both his mother, born Anna Suabova, and the man he believed to be his father, Rudolf Forman, were separately seized by the Nazis and were killed in concentration camps. Forman would go on to attend Film School in Prague and would make his first feature film -- a coming of age tale about a teenager entering the workforce called Black Peter -- in 1964. It was disliked by the Communist authorities, but it won an award at the Locarno film festival, allowing Forman to keep directing.

The director didn't arrive on the world stage until the release of The Loves of a Blonde in 1965. The film was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language film, but it didn't take home the prize. Forman's next film, The Firemen's Ball was likewise nominated for Best Foreign Language film the following year, though, it's satirical depiction of firefighting bureaucracy didn't sit well with the Czech Republic.

Soon afterward, Milos Foreman left what was then Czechoslovakia and came to the United States, which was more accepting of his satirical style than his homeland. When Warsaw Pact troops stormed the country in 1968, Forman opted to stay in the United States. His first American film, Taking Off, was a flop and it sunk Forman into depression. At his lowest point, he was offered to direct an adaptation of the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The movie, which followed a tale of rebellion in a mental institution, starred Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher and went on to win five Oscars -- including Best Picture and Best Director.

Forman's next two films, Hair and Ragtime, didn't leave as great an impression as Cuckoo's Nest, but Forman struck gold once again with the release of Amadeus in 1984. Amadeus followed the life of famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and starred Tom Hulce. The film was nominated for a total of 11 Oscars, winning 8 of them and earning Forman his second Best Director award.

Milos Forman would go on to direct five more films following Amadeus, though, none of them were particularly well received by audiences. The People vs. Larry Flynt and The Man on the Moon were perhaps his most high-profile releases from that time. The latter, which followed the life of comedian Andy Kaufman as portrayed by Jim Carrey, was the subject of a recent documentary called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond.

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