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Alan Parker, ‘Bugsy Malone’, director ” Midnight Express ”, deceased in 76



Alan Parker, a successful and sometimes surprising producer whose diverse production includes “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express,” and “Avoid,” has died after 76 years, his family said.

A British heavyweight in Hollywood, Parker also directed “The Hero,” “The Mississippi Commitments and Burns.” Together his films have won 10 Academy Awards 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 14, 1944, and, like many other aspiring British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne, began his career in advertising as a copywriter and advertising director.

FILE - British actor Jonathan Pryce, left, American actress-singer Madonna and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas appear during a news conference on the musical film

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

He went on television with the critically acclaimed 1974 drama “The Evacuees,” which won the Emmy International Award.

The next year he wrote and addressed his first feature, “Bugsy Malone,” an unusual, exuberant musical pastiche of gangster films with a children’s card, among them the young Jodie Foster.

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He followed that with the 1978 feature “Midnight Express,” the reality-based story of the incarceration of the American imprisoned in a Turkish prison for alleged drug offenses. She won two Oscars – including one for Oliver Stone’s screenplay – and Parker won the first of two best directors.

Parker varied widely between subjects and genres. While “Shoot the Moon” (1982) and “Angela’s Ashes” (1999) were familiar plays, “Birdy” (1984) was a story of war and friendship, “Angel Heart” (1987) an occult thriller and “Mississippi Burning”. (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, author Billy Hayes, and British director Alan Parker appear in Cannes, France for their film screening

FILE – British actor John Hurt, from the 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 included “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Avoid,” died at the age of 76. A statement from the director’s family says Parker died on Friday in London after a long illness. (AP Photo, File)

Parker was also a notable director of musicals, a genre he both embraced and grew up with. “Fame” (1980) was a full but celebratory life story in the high school of theatrical arts; “Pink Floyd – the Wall” (1982) was a surreal rock opera; “The Commitments” (1991) rated the negative effects of the Dublin strip of ramshackle; and “Avoid” (1996) cast Madonna as the first Argentine woman Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s big-screen version of the musical. His last film was the death drama “The Life of David Gale” in 2003.

Parker also supported Britain’s film industry, serving as president of the British Film Institute and the UK Film Council. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, and in 2013 received the highest honor of the British film academy, the Bafta Scholarship.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted: “From Heroes to Midnight Express, Alan Parker was nominated for two Oscars. His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and place. Extraordinary talent, he will be greatly lost. “

Dexter Fletcher, director of “Rocketman” said Parker “mistakenly changed my life at the age of 9” by throwing Fletcher as a Babyface in “Bugsy Malone.” He said he is still recognizable from the film, 45 years later.

Sir Alan Parker attends the opening of the Lyric Hammersmith's Reuben Wing and Foundation

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

Fletcher said Parker “was one of the big, diverse, eclectic and original British filmmakers of his generation and the personal hero to direct.”

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His partner of English producer David Puttnam said that Parker “was my oldest friend and closest friend – I was always concerned about his talent. My life, and that of many others who have loved and respected it, will never be the same again. “

Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond films, said that Parker’s films “exhibited the elements of his personality that we cherish so much; integrity, humanity, humor and irreverence and rebellion, and certainly entertainment. “

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

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


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