Alan Parker, Two-Time Oscar-Nominated Director, Dies at 76

Carla Harmon
July 31, 2020

Oscar-nominated English director Alan Parker, known for his work on "Evita", "Bugsy Malone,"Midnight Express" and other memorable films, died Friday morning after a long illness, the British Film Institute confirmed". Alan Parker blossomed in the 1970s, creating a rapid succession of celebrated and successful films, starting with the striking 1976 gangster musical comedy Bugsy Malone, which featured a cast of children.

In 1974 he directed BBC film The Evacuees, winning a Bafta for direction - the first of seven awards he received from the British Academy. 1978 saw the release of Midnight Express, an Oliver Stone-scripted drama about an American drug smuggler being held in a Turkish prison. It won two Oscars and gained Parker a best-director nomination. His final directorial credit was 2003's The Life of David Gale, an unfortunately underwhelming end to an otherwise remarkable career.

Parker ranged widely across subjects and genres.

He frequently revisited his penchant for musical movies with hits such as "Fame", "The Commitments", and "Evita", starring Madonna, while he was also the man behind the camera for 1982's "Pink Floyd - The Wall", based on the rock band's album of the same name. Burning would nearly act as Parker's peak as his follow-up films, Come See the Paradise and The Road to Wellville received generally mixed reviews and were box office failures while The Commitments was underwhelming at the box office despite rave reviews and his 1976 adaptation of Evita saw mixed reviews but was a box office smash.

Parker was also a notable director of musicals, a genre he both embraced and expanded.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted: "From Fame to Midnight Express, two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker was a chameleon". He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and in 2013 received the British film academy's highest honor, the BAFTA Fellowship.

Film director David Puttnam remembered Parker as his "oldest and closest friend", adding: "I was always in awe of his talent".

Parker is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry, and seven grandchildren.

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