Alan Parker, ‘Bugsy Malone,’ director of “Midnight Express”, was 76 years old


His family said that Alan Parker is a successful and sometimes surprising filmmaker whose diverse outputs include “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Avita”.

A Briton who became a Hollywood heavyweight, Parker also directed “Fame,” “Commitments, and” Mississippi Burning. “Together his films won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards.

The director’s family said he died in London on Friday after a long illness.

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Parker was born in London on February 14, 1944, and several other aspiring British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Lynn, began their careers in advertising as a copywriter and director of commercials.

FILE – British actor Jonathan Preece, from left, American actress-singer Madonna and Spanish actor Antonio Bundares appear in Buenos Aires on 6 February 1996 at a news conference about the musical film “Evita” with British director Alan Parker. Parker, whose films include “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Avita”, has died at the age of 76. A statement from the director’s family said that Parker died in London on Friday after a long illness. (AP Photo / Daniel Muzio, File)

He made his television debut with the critically acclaimed 1974 drama “The Avecuse”, which won the International Emmy Award.

The following year he directed his first feature, “Bugsy Malone,” an unusual, brilliant musical pastiche of gangster films with a cast of children, including a young, Jodie Foster.

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He then followed the 1978 “Midnight Express” feature, a reality story based on harassment for alleged drug crimes in a Turkish prison in a US prison. It won two Oscars – including the screenplay by Oliver Stone – and Parker received the first of two Best-Director nominations.

Parker was widely involved in themes and styles. While “Shoot the Moon” (1982) and “Angela’s Ashes” (1999) were family dramas, “Beardy” (1984) was a tale of war and friendship, “Angel Heart” (1987) was an occult thriller and “Mississippi Burn” (1988) a powerful civil rights drama that was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Director.

FILE - British actor John Hurt, from left, American actor Brad Davis, writer Billy Hayes and British director Alan Parker appear in Cannes, France for a screening of their film

FILE – British actor John Hurt, from left, American actor Brad Davis, writer Billy Hayes and British director Alan Parker, will appear in Cannes, France for a screening of their film “Midnight Express” at the 18th International Film Festival on 18 May. 1978. Parker, whose films included “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Avita”, has died at the age of 76. A statement from the director’s family said that Parker died in London on Friday after a long illness. (AP photo, file)

Parker was also a notable director of music, a genre he embraced and expanded upon. “Fame” (1980) was a gritty but celebratory story of life in a performing arts high school; “Pink Floyd – The Wall” (1982) was a real rock opera; “The Commitment” (1991) depicts the ups and downs of a Ramshakal Dublin soul band; And “Evita” (1996) cast Madonna as Eva Peron, Argentina’s first female, in the big screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music. His last film was the 2003 Death-Row drama “The Life of David Gayle”.

Parker also championed the UK film industry as president of the British Film Institute and the UK Film Council. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and received the BAFTA Fellowship, the British Film Academy’s highest honor in 2013.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted: “From Fame to Midnight Express, the two-time Oscar nominee was Alan Parker Chameleon. His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and space. An extraordinary talent, he will be greatly missed. “

“Rocketman” director Dexter Fletcher said that Parker at the age of 9 inadvertently “changed my life at the age of 9 by casting Fletcher as the babyface in Bugsy Malone.” He said that he is still recognized from the film, 45 years later.

Sir Alan Parker attended the opening of the Reuben Foundation Wing of Lyricist Hammersmith

Sir Alan Parker attends the Lyubers Hammersmith’s Reuben Foundation Wing and the opening of “Buggs Malone” at the Lyrical Hammersmith on April 28, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Bennett / Getty Image for Lyric Hammersmith)

Fletcher said Parker was “one of the great, diverse, generous and original British filmmakers of his generation and my personal directing hero.”

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Fellow British filmmaker David Putnam said that Parker was “my oldest and closest friend – I was always amazed by his talent. My life, and many others I loved and respected, will never be the same again.”

Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the James Bond films, said that Parker’s films “showcase elements of her personality that we cherish greatly; integrity, humanity, humor and grace and rebellion, and most certainly entertainment.”

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“Didn’t make the same movie twice,” Parker said.

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