Alan Parker, a successful and sometimes surprising filmmaker whose diverse output includes “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express,” and “Evita,” died at 76, his family said.
A Briton who became a weight in Hollywood, Parker was also directed at “Fame,” “The Commitments and” Mississippi Burning. “Together his films have won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards.
The director’s family said he died Friday in London after a long illness.
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Parker was born in London in February. 14, 1944, and, like many other aspiring British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne, began his advertising career as a copywriter and director of commercials.
He switched to the television of the critically acclaimed 1974 drama “The Evacuees,” which won an International Emmy Award.
The following year he wrote and directed his first feature, “Bugsy Malone,” an unusual, intense music pastiche of gangster films with a cast of children, including a young Jodie Foster.
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He followed that up with the 1978 feature “Midnight Express,” the narrative based on the fact of an American uprising in a Turkish prison for alleged drug offenses. It won two Oscars – including one for Oliver Stone’s script – and Parker earned the first of two best director nominations.
Parker has traveled extensively across topics and genres. While “Reach the Moon” (1982) and “Angela’s Ashes” (1999) are family dramas, “Birdy” (1984) is a story of war and friendship, “Angel of the Heart” (1987) a thrill and “Mississippi Burning” (1988) a powerful civil rights drama nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best director.
Parker is a well-known director of musicals, a genre he has both embraced and expanded. “Fame” (1980) is a rough but popular life story in a high school performance; “Pink Floyd – the Wall” (1982) is a surreal rock opera; “Commitments” (1991) charted the rise of a ramshackle Dublin soul band; and “Evita” (1996) cast Madonna as the first female Eva Peron in a big-screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical. His final film was the drama-death drama “The Life of David Gale” in 2003.
Parker is also a winner in the British film industry, serving as chairman of the British Film Institute and the UK Film Council. She was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and in 2013 received the highest honor in the British film academy, the BAFTA Fellowship.
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted: “From Fame to Midnight Express, the two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker is a chamomile. His work has entertained us, connected us, and given us we have a strong sense of time and place. An extraordinary talent, he will miss so much. “
“Rocketman” director Dexter Fletcher said Parker “accidentally changed my life at age 9” by casting Fletcher as Babyface in “Bugsy Malone.” He said he would still get recognition from the film, 45 years later.
Fletcher said Parker “was one of the great, diverse, eclectic and original British films of his generation and my personal directing hero.”
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Fellow British filmmaker David Puttnam said Parker “was my oldest and closest friend – I was always afraid of his talent. My life, and the many others who love and respect him, will never be the same again. . ”
Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond film, said Parker ‘s films “show the elements of her personality that we love; integrity, humanity, humor and caution and rebellion, and most definitely entertainment. “
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Parker said, “never made twice in the same movie.”
Parker survived his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry, and seven grandchildren.