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Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express Director, Dead at 76



Alan Parker, a successful and sometimes surprising director whose diverse productions include “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Evita,” has died at the age of 76, his family said.

A Briton who has become a Hollywood heavyweight, Parker also directed “Glory,” “Commitments, and” Mississippi Burning. ” Together, his films have won 10 Oscars and 19 British Academy Film Awards.

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

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Parker was born in London on February 1

4, 1944, and like many other ambitious British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Line, began his career in advertising as a copywriter and director of advertising.

FILE - British actor Jonathan Price, left, American actress Madonna and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas appear at a press conference for the music film

FILE – British actor Jonathan Price, left, American actress Madonna and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas appear at a press conference for the musical Evita with British director Alan Parker in Buenos Aires on February 6, 1996. Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express and Evita have died at the age of 76. A statement from the director’s family says Parker died Friday in London after a long illness. (AP Photo / Daniel Muzio, File)

He moved to television with the critically acclaimed 1974 drama The Evacuees, which won an international Emmy Award.

The following year, he wrote and directed his first feature film, Bugsy Malone, an unusual, exciting musical taste of gangster films starring children, including young Jodie Foster.

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He followed with the 1978 film Midnight Express, a story based on the reality of an American who is imprisoned in a Turkish prison for alleged drug crimes. She won two Oscars – including one for screenplay by Oliver Stone – and won Parker the first of two nominations for Best Director.

Parker varied widely between themes and genres. While Shoot the Moon (1982) and Angela’s Ashes (1999) were family dramas, Birdie (1984) was a tale of war and friendship, Angel’s Heart (1987), an occult thriller, and Mississippi Burning. 1988) a powerful civil rights drama, nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Director.

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

FILE – British actor John Hurt, left, American actor Brad Davis, author Billy Hayes and British director Alan Parker appear in Cannes, France for the screening of their film “Midnight Express” at the 31st International Film Festival on May 18, 1978. Parker, whose films include “Bugsy Malone”, “Midnight Express” and “Evita”, has died at the age of 76. A statement from the director’s family says Parker died Friday in London after a long illness. (AP Photo, file)

Parker was also a remarkable director of musicals, a genre he embraced and expanded. “Fame” (1980) was a grim but festive life story in high school performing arts; Pink Floyd The Wall (1982) is a surreal rock opera; The Commitments (1991) outlines the ups and downs of the shattered Dublin dubbing group; and “Evita” (1996) play Madonna as Argentina’s first lady Eva Perón in a major version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical. His latest film is the 2003 drama The Life of David Gale.

Parker also supports the British film industry, serving as chairman of the British Film Institute and the Joint Film Council. He was a Knight of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and in 2013 received the highest honor of the British Film Academy – the BAFTA Branch.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted: “From fame to midnight express, two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker was a chameleon. His work entertains us, connects us and gives us such a strong sense of time and place. Exceptional talent, he will miss him a lot. “

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

Sir Alan Parker attended the inauguration of the Lebanon Hammersmith Reuben Wing Foundation and

Sir Alan Parker attended the opening of the Lyric Hammersmith Wing and the Ruby Bugsy Malone Foundation at Lyric Hammersmith on 28 April 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Bennett / Getty images for Lyric Hammersmith)

Fletcher said Parker “is one of the great, diverse, eclectic and original British directors of his generation and my personal directorial character.”

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British film director David Putnam said Parker “is my oldest and closest friend – I’ve always been horrified by his talent.” My life and that of many others who loved and respected him will never be the same again. “

Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond films, said Parker’s films “showed the elements of his personality that we value so much; integrity, humanity, humor and disrespect and rebellion, and certainly fun. “

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Parker, she said, “has never made the same movie twice.”

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


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