Joel Schumacher, director of 2 Batman movies and ‘The Lost Boys’, dies aged 80 after year-long cancer battle
His ‘Batman Forever’, starring Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman, grossed over $300M. He also made the 1997 ‘Batman and Robin’, starring George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Filmmaker Joel Schumacher died in New York City on Monday, June 22, after a year-long battle with cancer at the age of 80. Schumacher has long been considered a Hollywood legend.
Born on August 29, 1939, in New York City, Schumacher initially worked in the fashion industry before entering film as a costume designer for Woody Allen’s 1973 film ‘Sleeper’. He studied at Parsons the New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He worked in the fashion industry for some time before deciding to pursue a career in filmmaking. According to Variety, Schumacher brought his fashion background to directing.
Schumacher’s first directing assignment was on television: 1974's telefilm ‘Virginia Hill’, which he also co-wrote. Again in 1979, he directed a telefilm that he wrote, ‘Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill’.
His first hit came in 1985 with ‘St Elmo’s Fire’, which then led him to make ‘The Lost Boys’ in 1987. The film was a far bigger hit than the former.
One of Schumacher’s bigger projects was taking over the ‘Batman’ franchise after Tim Burton exited the series after two successful films. Schumacher’s ‘Batman Forever’, starring Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, and Nicole Kidman, grossed more than $300 million worldwide. He also went ahead to create the 1997 ‘Batman and Robin’, starring George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In a 2017 interview talking about ‘Batman and Robin’, Schumacher said, “I think I’m one of the luckiest people that ever lived. I got my dream. I got it so much bigger than even I could have dreamed it. You know, I’m just a kid whose parents died very young who was on his own and grew up behind a movie theater before TV, and I wanted to tell those stories, and look what happened.”
The filmmaker’s many credits include titles such as ‘D.C. Cab’, ‘The Incredible Shrinking Woman’, ‘Phone Booth’ ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Flatliners’, ‘Flawless’, ‘Trespass’, and even two 2013 episodes of the Netflix series, 'House of Cards'.
Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, awarded Schumacher a special award in 2010. He also received the Distinguished Collaborator Award at the Costume Designers Guild Awards in 2011.