Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Milos Forman, director of Oscar-winning Cuckoo's Nest, dies at 86

Milos Forman, director of Oscar-winning Cuckoo's Nest, dies at 86

Forman, also known for two biopics about controversial Americans - The People vs. Larry Flynt(1996) and Man on the Moon (1999) - died Friday in the US after a short illness, according to his wife, Martina, who broke the news to the Czech news agency CTK.

"His departure was calm, and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends", she said. He became a United States citizen in the 1970s. Both of Forman's parents were killed in Nazi concentration camps. After his graduation, he directed short documentaries - Audition, Black Peter and The Loves of a Blonde.

Forman's first overseas film was "Taking Off", which was released in 1971.

After working in theatre in Prague in the 1950s he moved to America in the late 1960s, and despite initially struggling in his career, he secured his breakthrough when actor Michael Douglas and producer Saul Zaentz offered him a chance to direct a film adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Forman became one of Hollywood's few successful foreign-born directors after leaving his native Czechoslovakia in 1968
Forman became one of Hollywood's few successful foreign-born directors after leaving his native Czechoslovakia in 1968

Forman rebounded four years later with the iconic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", which won five Academy Awards, including one for himself as director.

He shot one of his most famous movies, "Amadeus", in still-communist Prague in 1983.

Amadeus (1984), starring Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, raked in 11 Oscar nominations and eight wins, including those for best picture and director.

His other films included Hair (1978), an electric adaptation of the classic counter-culture rock musical; Ragtime (1981), based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow; The People vs. Larry Flynt (1997), about the Hustler publisher's battle for his First Amendment rights; and Man on the Moon (1999), in which Jim Carrey played the eccentric comedian Andy Kaufman.


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