Filmmaker Alan Parker, a prominent figure in British industry, passed away this morning after a long illness, the British Film Institute has confirmed. He was 76 years old.
The two-time Oscar nominee Parker was best known for directing classic films Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express, Mississippi is on fire and Commitmentsas well as a Madonna film on a large budget Evita. During a brilliant career, his feature films won 19 BAFTA awards, ten Golden Globes and ten Oscars.
Parker was a passionate supporter of British industry and a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain. He was the founding chair of the UK Film Council in 2000, a position he had held for five years, and before that he was the chair of the BFI. He received a CBE in 1
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Alan Parker was born on February 14, 1944 in Islington, London. He started his career in advertising as a copywriter, but quickly graduated as an author and director of commercials. In the late 1960s, he was one of the small but hugely influential group of British directors (including Ridley Scott, Hugh Hudson, and Adrian Lyne) who revolutionized the look, quality, and reputation of television advertising by doing sophisticated, fun storytelling with cinema aesthetics combined for the first time. In 1980 he received the D&AD Gold President’s Award.
In 1974 he switched to the long-form drama when he directed the BBC film. The evacuees, written by Jack Rosenthal, who won the International Emmy Award and a BAFTA Award for Direction; the first of Parker’s seven BAFTA awards.
Parker wrote and directed his first feature film, Bugsy MaloneIt was a unique musical pastiche from 1930s Hollywood gangster films with an all-child cast, including a co-performance by Jodie Foster. The film received eight BAFTA film nominations and five awards.
Parker’s second film was the most successful and controversial Midnight Express (1977), who won two Oscars and six Oscar nominations, including for Parker as best director. The film received six Golden Globe Awards and four BAFTA Awards.
1979 followed Fame, a joyful and varied celebration of youthful ambitions in art, which won two Oscar awards, six nominations and four Golden Globe nominations and was subsequently transformed into a long-standing television series.
In 1981 Parker directed the powerful family drama, Shoot the moonwith Diane Keaton and Albert Finney. In the same year he also led the groundbreaking Pink Floyd – The Wall, the feature film adaptation of the phenomenally successful rock album.
Parker directed in 1984 Birdy based on the novel by William Wharton with Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine, who won the Grand Prix Special Du Jury at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.
Parker’s next film, the occult thriller Angel heartThe 1986 album with Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet opened in the United States in a storm of controversy caused by the MPAA’s “X” rating for the film.
In 1988, Parker directed the civil rights drama, Mississippi is on firewith Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe, who were nominated for seven Academy Awards, including the best director for Parker and the award for best camera. Parker also received the DW Griffith Award for Direction from the National Board of Review. The film was nominated for five BAFTA film awards and won three. It also won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1989 Parker wrote and directed Come and look at paradise, a moving family story about the treatment of violently interned Japanese-Americans during World War II with Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn Tomita. A year later he would do it Commitments, the story of a young Irish soul band of the working class who received a Golden Globe nomination for best picture and Parker won the Best Director Award at the Tokyo Film Festival as well as the BAFTA Film Award for Editing, Screenplay and Director and Best Picture .
In 1993 Parker wrote and directed comedy drama, The way to Wellville, based on the novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle with Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda, Matthew Broderick, John Cusack and Dana Carvey.
In 1996 he made numerous headlines worldwide as a director, author and producer Evita, based on the stage musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice with Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. The much-discussed film won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Film.
In 1999 Parker wrote and directed Angela’s ashes based on Frank McCourt’s bestseller memoirs with Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle, which won the Pulitzer Prize. Parker’s last film was The life of David Gale, the 2003 thriller about the cruel death penalty policy in the United States starring Kate Winslet, Kevin Spacey and Laura Linney.
Parker was also the author of the bestselling novel, which was written from his own screenplay by Bugsy Malone, published by HarperCollins. He also wrote two other published novels, Puddles in the alley(1977) and The idiot kiss (2003). He was also a skillful cartoonist and painter.
In 1984 Parker received the prestigious Michael Balcon Award from the British Academy for his outstanding contribution to British cinema. In 1998 he received the Directors Guild of Great Britain’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Royal Photographic Society’s Lumiere Medal. He was awarded the Bafta Fellowship 2013.
Parker is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry and seven grandchildren.