The British director Alan Parker, whose films have won 10 Oscars and 10 Golden Globes, also explored US race relations with "Mississippi Burning."
Filmmaker Alan Parker, one of Britain's most successful directors whose movies included “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Evita,” has died at 76.
Parker's diverse body of work includes “Fame,” Mississippi Burning, “The Commitments and “Angela’s Ashes.” Together his movies won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards.
In a statement, his family said Parker died on Friday in London after a long illness.
Parker was born in London in 1944 and, like many other aspiring British directors including Ridley Scott, began his career in advertising.
He moved on to TV with critically acclaimed 1974 drama “The Evacuees,” which won an international Emmy Award.
The next year he wrote and directed his first feature, “Bugsy Malone,” an unusual and exuberant musical pastiche of gangster films with a cast of children, including a young Jodie Foster.
He followed that with “Midnight Express,” the story based on an American’s incarceration in a Turkish prison. It won two Oscars and gained Parker a best-director nomination.
In 2004 Hollywood writer and director Oliver Stone, the screenwriter for the film, apologised for offending Turkey and admitted to over-dramatising the screenplay.
Parker's work ranged widely across subjects and genres. “Shoot the Moon” was a family drama, “Angel Heart” an occult thriller and “Mississippi Burning” a powerful civil rights drama that was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
Parker was a notable director of musicals, a genre he both embraced and expanded. “Fame” was a gritty but celebratory story of life at a performing arts high school; “Pink Floyd — the Wall” was a surreal rock opera; “The Commitments” charted a ramshackle Dublin soul band; and “Evita” cast Madonna as Argentinian first lady Eva Peron in a big-screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical.
Parker also championed Britain’s film industry, serving as the chairman of the British Film Institute and the UK Film Council. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.
He is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, his children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry, and seven grandchildren.
British film industry mourns
Fellow director David Puttnam said Parker “was my oldest and closest friend – I was always in awe of his talent. My life, and those of many others who loved and respected him will never be the same again.”
Alan Parker was my oldest and closest friend and I never ceased to be in awe of his talent.— David Puttnam (@DPuttnam) July 31, 2020
My life, and those of many others who loved, respected and admired him will never be quite the same again.
The British Film Institute, BAFTA, The Academy, and those who worked alongside Parker during his career, among others, have expressed their sentiments on Twitter following the filmmaker's passing.
We're deeply saddened to learn that British filmmaker Alan Parker passed away this morning. Also a former Chairman of the BFI, his works as director include Midnight Express, The Commitments and Angela's Ashes https://t.co/wuBtJvHG1b pic.twitter.com/TDEqyxWgWb— BFI (@BFI) July 31, 2020
So very sad to share the news of the passing of my dear friend, Sir Alan Parker. Being cast in his epic film, Birdy, transformed my life. Alan was a great artist who’s films will live forever. Godspeed, Sir Alan. 💔#BugsyMalone#MidnightExpress#FAME#MississippiBurning#Birdy pic.twitter.com/4rBpbEhVh1— Matthew Modine (@MatthewModine) July 31, 2020
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of BAFTA Fellow Alan Parker. As BAFTA-winning filmmaker, he brought us joy with Bugsy Malone, The Commitments, Midnight Express and many more. pic.twitter.com/fVOcXARgKM— BAFTA (@BAFTA) July 31, 2020
From "Fame" to "Midnight Express," two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker was a chameleon. His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and place. An extraordinary talent, he will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/OxZPBxTE8F— The Academy (@TheAcademy) July 31, 2020