Legendary 'Anti-Authoritarian' Director Is Dead

Czech native Milos Forman made 'Cuckoo's Nest' and more; his parents died in Nazi camps
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2018 5:37 AM CDT
Czech-born filmmaker Milos Forman, in 2007.   (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

(Newser) – The Czech-born filmmaker who directed films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus—both of which won him Oscars for directing—has died at 86. Milos Forman died in the US after a short illness, reports the Guardian. Forman also earned an Oscar nomination for The People vs. Larry Flynt and won acclaim with another American biopic, Man on the Moon, about Andy Kaufman. Both of Forman's parents died in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and he wound up being raised by relatives before entering the Prague Film Academy. "Though he blossomed in exile in 1970s America, his memory of totalitarianism would forever be his muse," writes Gina Piccalo at the Los Angeles Times.

The Hollywood Reporter describes Forman as an "anti-authoritarian" director, noting that his 1967 film The Fireman's Ball got him into trouble with communist leaders in his then home of Czechoslovakia. He achieved international acclaim with the 1975 Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson and set inside a mental institution. The film won five major Oscars, for best picture, director, actor, actress, and adapted screenplay. About a decade later, Forman again scored Academy Award success with Amadeus. The film about Mozart earned 11 nominations and eight Oscars, including director and best picture. Forman became an American citizen in 1975.

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