The film community is mourning the death of Oscar-winning director Milos Forman Saturday.
Forman, a Czech immigrant who helmed two best-picture winners — 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and 1984’s “Amadeus” — died Friday in Connecticut at the age of 86, The New York Times reported.
Forman’s wife Martina told the Czech news agency CTK that he died after a brief illness, Deadline.com reported.
“Milos was truly one of ours,” Directors Guild of America President Thomas Schlamme said. “A filmmaker, artist, and champion of artists’ rights. His contribution to the craft of directing has been an undeniable source of inspiration for generations of filmmakers. His directorial vision deftly brought together provocative subject matter, stellar performances and haunting images to tell the stories of the universal struggle for free expression and self-determination that informed so much of his work and his life.
“A member of the DGA’s National Board and a recipient of the DGA’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Milos actively championed artist’s rights throughout his career, speaking multiple times before Congress and world audiences about the importance of creative rights and artists’ protections against the violation of those rights. He stood up on behalf of his beloved fellow filmmakers time and again, and he believed with all his heart that creativity and artistic freedom could make a difference in the world. Now it’s up to us to prove him right. We will miss him.”
Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Forman immigrated to the United States in 1968, and made his most famous film seven years later. “Cuckoo’s Nest,” his adaptation of Ken Kesey’s play, won five “top Oscars” including best actor for Jack Nicholson, best actress for Louis Fletcher and a best director award for Forman.
His 1984 biopic of Mozart, “Amadeus” became another multiple Oscar winner, including a second best director award for Forman.
Forman also directed 1989’s “Valmont,” 1996′ “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” 1999’s “Man on the Moon,” and 2006’s “Goya’s Ghosts.”
“Milos Forman was our friend and our teacher,” tweeted Larry Karaszewski, who co-wrote “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man on the Moon.”
“He was a master filmmaker – no one better at capturing small unrepeatable moments of human behavior. We made two movies together and every day spent with him was a unique adventure. Milos loved life. I will miss his laughter.”
“Milos Forman has left us,” actor Antonio Banderas tweeted. “Genius of cinematography and master in the portrayal of the human condition. RIP.”
Added “Baby Driver” director Edgar Wright, also on Twitter: “Very sad to hear that the great director Milos Forman has passed away. He had a tremendous filmography that documented the rebel heart and human spirit. I have seen ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ enough times to be able to silently mouth along with the movie. RIP.”