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Alan Parker, the revered filmmaker behind unforgettable crime dramas Mississippi Burning and Midnight Express and movie musicals Fame, Evita and The Commitments has died at the age of 76 after battling a lengthy illness. The British director, writer and founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain leaves a significant legacy on Hollywood as he is mourned by the industry today.
The Hollywood talent directed 13 feature films across his career, along with Pink Floyd’s music film The Wall and the music videos for Madonna’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.” Alan Parker’s breakout hit was 1976’s Bugsy Malone starring Jodie Foster, which told the story of the famous gangster story with a movie musical starring a child cast.
His 1980 film Fame inspired the popular television series of the same name throughout the ‘80s. Alan Parker had a diverse body of work ranging from the 1987 horror mystery with Robert De Niro, Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet called Angel Heart, which was shrouded in controversy after the “X” rating was given to the film. Or 1982’s drama Shoot the Moon starring a mother of four (played by Diane Keaton) abandoned by her husband.
The 1984 war drama Birdy, one of Nicolas Cage’s first starring roles ever. He also wrote and directed the war romance about tensions between the Japanese and Americans after Pearl Harbor with the Dennis Quaid-led Come See the Paradise in 1990.
His most memorable epic had to be the 1996 adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita that starred Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. Alan Parker was nominated for two Best Directing Oscars in his lifetime for Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning. His final film was 2003’s The Life of David Gale starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet and Laura Linney about a man on death row.
Overall his work nabbed 19 BAFTAs, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars. Alan Parker received a British order of chivalry (CBE) in 1995, a knighthood in 2002 and a Officier des Arts et Letters status by France.
Born in Islington, London in 1944, Alan Parker got started working in advertising before moving on to doing the writing and direction for commercials. He and other Brit directors including Alien’s Ridley Scott and Chariots of Fire’s Hugh Hudson reformed the aesthetics of television advertising in the ‘60s before making their high-profile Hollywood movies.
As the news rolled in this afternoon, a number of Hollywood names paid tribute to the influential filmmaker. Check out Ben Stiller’s words via Twitter:
So sad to hear of Alan Parker’s passing. What a great director who made what I consider “real” movies. He inspired so many filmmakers: Fame, Midnight Express, Mississippi Burning...Watch his films - they are some of the best of the 70s and 80s.
Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver director Edgar Wright shared this following the news:
And here’s what Andrew Lloyd Webber had to say about Alan Parker’s Friday passing:
Alan Parker is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, his five children and seven grandchildren, per Deadline. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more news about the Hollywood industry.