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'Bugsy Malone' and 'The Commitments' director Sir Alan Parker has died

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Sir Alan Parker, the director behind movies such as Bugsy Malone, The Commitments, and Midnight Express, has died aged 76.

The news was announced by a representative, who said he had died on Friday (July 31) “after a lengthy illness.”

Parker, who was a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, five children and seven grandchildren.

Born in 1944 in Islington, London, Parker began his career in advertising as a copywriter but quickly graduated to writing and directing commercials. After directing the 1974 TV film The Evacuees, he made his feature film debut with Bugsy Malone in 1976.

Getting Hollywood’s attention with the Jodie Foster-starring children’s musical, he was then hired to direct the Oliver Stone scripted Midnight Express, which earned him an Oscar nomination.

He would go on to helm a string of successful films in the 80s, including performing-arts student musical Fame (1980), Vietnam war drama Birdy (1984), cult thriller Angel Heart (1987), and civil rights thriller Mississippi Burning (1988).

In 1996, Parker directed Madonna in a film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Evita.

His other credits include The CommitmentsAngela’s Ashes and Shoot the Moon.

He also directed Pink Floyd – The Wall in 1982, which starred Bob Geldof in a feature film realisation of the hit Pink Floyd album.

A founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, Parker was also chairman of the UK Film Council. He received a CBE in 1995 and a knighthood in 2002.

Although he won countless awards, including BAFTA’s prestigious Michael Balcon Award for outstanding contribution to British cinema, he was never honoured at the Oscars, despite being nominated twice for best director.

The Academy paid tribute to the director. “From ‘Fame’ to ‘Midnight Express,’ two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker was a chameleon,” they tweeted. “His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and place. An extraordinary talent, he will be greatly missed.”

The BFI added: “We’re deeply saddened to learn that British filmmaker Alan Parker passed away this morning. Also a former Chairman of the BFI, his works as director include Midnight Express, The Commitments and Angela’s Ashes.”

Other tributes have been paid by the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Cusack, Edgar Wright, and many more. See them below.


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