Director Milos Forman, a multiple Academy Award-winner whose films included One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus and The People vs Larry Flynt, has died at the age of 86. His agent Dennis Aspland confirmed the news to the media, saying that Forman passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning, at a hospital near his Connecticut home.
Forman was born in Czechoslovakia in 1932, and was orphaned at a young age, with both of his parents killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. He was raised by relatives, and his early films like Loves Of A Blonde and The Fireman’s Ball earned him a place among the new wave of Czech directors in the 1960s.
He left his homeland after the 1968 Soviet invasion, and relocated to Hollywood, where he enjoyed his first major English-language success with Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975. That film, which starred Jack Nicholson, is one of only three to have won an award in all five major category at the Oscars, the others being It Happened One Night (1934) and The Silence Of The Lambs (1991).
His 1984 film Amadeus, based on the rivalry between composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, picked up a further seven Academy Awards. His output slowed from there on, and he would only go on to make four more narrative films, including The People vs Larry Flynt, and Man On The Moon, about comedian Andy Kaufman.
Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Milos Forman, with Man On The Moon star Jim Carrey remembering him as “a lovely man” and their time together as “a monumental experience.”
I still remember the rare images of black life in the early 1900s offered in RAGTIME. Saw it as a teen and recall crying. Howard Rollins, Debbie Allen, Moses Gunn. Directed by Milos Forman. He made many films I enjoy. But I’ll be rewatching RAGTIME today. In appreciation. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QOC1lSvzX7
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 14, 2018
We lost one of our great filmmakers with the passing of Milos Forman. It’s time to solve the music rights issues & release a Blu ray of one of his greatest works: TAKING OFF – one of the most accurate portraits of the USA circa 1971 as it could only be interpreted by an outsider. pic.twitter.com/8hEJbPyWs8
— Joe Dante (@joe_dante) April 14, 2018
Forman was married three times, and leaves behind wife Martina Zborilova-Forman as well as four children.