Alan Parker, famed director of ‘Midnight Express’, ‘Bugsy Malone’ and ‘Evita’, dies at age 76
Sir Alan Parker, who is an influential British director of films such as 'Bugsy Malone' and 'Midnight Express' died on July 31 after struggling with an illness for a long time. His career spanning 19 films included the very glamorous film 'Evita' starring Madonna, 'Mississippi Burning' and 'The Commitments' among others. These films fetched the celebrated director's films 19 BAFTA awards, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars.
Parker was a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain and he was also the founding chairman of the UK Film Council. He held the position for five years from 2000. In addition to becoming the Officier des Arts et Letters (France), Parker was also knighted in 2002. Born in Islington, London, on February 14, 1944, the director began his career in the field of advertising as a copywriter. He was quickly then promoted to writing adverts and commercials as well.
Parker is also considered one of the directors who revolutionized the visuals and storytelling style of British films in the 60s along with his contemporary directors Ridley Scott, Hugh Hudson and Adrian Lyne. Parker also dipped his feet in the long form of storytelling with 'The Evacuees' which was written by Jack Rosenthal. This show won the International Emmy Award and a BAFTA award for direction, which was a first for the director.
One of the director's films 'Angel Heart' starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet opened in the US in 1986, amid a storm of controversy caused by the rating that the movie had received. The Motion Picture Association of America rated the film 'X' at the time.
The director also adapted his screenplay of 'Bugsy Malone' into a novel which was published by HarperCollins and he also penned 'Puddles In The Lane' in 1977 and 'The Sucker’s Kiss' in 2003. In addition, he was also an adept cartoonist and painter. So, it came as no surprise when the British Academy awarded him with the prestigious Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema.
The 'Midnight Express' director also held the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain and the Lumiere Medal from the Royal Photographic Society.
Sir Parker is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, his children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry, and seven grandchildren.