Di­rec­tor For­man dead

Lethbridge Herald - - TELEVISION | ENTERTAINMENT -

Czech film­maker Mi­los For­man, whose Amer­i­can movies “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus” won a del­uge of Academy Awards, in­clud­ing best di­rec­tor Os­cars, died Satur­day. He was 86.

For­man died about 2 a.m. Satur­day at Dan­bury Hos­pi­tal, near his home in War­ren, Con­necti­cut, ac­cord­ing to a statement re­leased by the former di­rec­tor’s agent, Den­nis As­p­land. As­p­land said For­man’s wife, Martina, no­ti­fied him of the death.

When For­man ar­rived in Hol­ly­wood in the late 1960s, he was lack­ing in both money and English skills, but car­ried a port­fo­lio of Cze­choslo­vakian films much ad­mired in­ter­na­tion­ally for their quirky, light­hearted spirit. Among them were “Black Peter,” “Loves of a Blonde” and “The Fire­man’s Ball.”

The or­phan of Nazi Holo­caust vic­tims, For­man had aban­doned his home­land af­ter com­mu­nist troops in­vaded in 1968 and crushed a brief pe­riod of po­lit­i­cal and artis­tic free­dom known as the Prague Spring.

In Amer­ica, his record as a Czech film­maker was enough to gain him en­tree to Hol­ly­wood’s stu­dios, but his early sug­ges­tions for film projects were quickly re­jected.

Af­ter his first U.S. film, 1971’s “Tak­ing Off,” flopped, For­man didn’t get a chance to direct a ma­jor fea­ture again for years. He oc­cu­pied him­self dur­ing part of that time by cov­er­ing the de­cathlon at the 1972 Olympics for the doc­u­men­tary “Vi­sions of Eight.”

Ac­tor Michael Dou­glas gave For­man a sec­ond chance, hir­ing him to direct “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” which Dou­glas was co-pro­duc­ing.

The 1975 film, based on Ken Ke­sey’s novel about a mis­fit who leads men­tal in­sti­tu­tion in­mates in a re­volt against au­thor­ity, cap­tured ev­ery ma­jor Os­car at that year’s Academy Awards, the first film to do so since 1934.

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