Sir Alan Parker the acclaimed British director behind Oscar nominated classics Mississippi Burning and Midnight Express, has passed away at the age of 76. The news was confirmed by the British Film Institute. The filmmaker died following a lengthy illness. Parker, whose career spanned three decades, was a two-time Oscar-nominee.
Alan Parker was born in London in February 1944. He got his start working as a copywriter in the advertising business. Eventually, Parker began directing commercials, which put him on the path to his filmmaking career.
In 1975, Alan Parker directed his first feature, a TV movie titled The Evacuees. But he made his first big splash a year later in 1976 with Bugsy Malone, a musical/comedy that served as a spoof of gangster movies. Parker rounded out the decade with 1978’s Midnight Express, a heralded drama that landed Parker his first Oscars nomination for Best Director. The movie was also nominted for Best Picture, and Oliver Stone won Best Apated Screenplay for his work on the script. Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, had this to say.
“Alan Parker was one of a kind. The brilliance of his filmmaking speaks for itself and for all time. Beautiful and breathtaking films, some that are charged for justice, others which are revealing through their intimacy, hope, and humour, part of the canon of great British films that continue to be loved by audiences all over the world. His Chairmanship of the BFI, his support for our National Archive and for championing British filmmaking is also an important part of his legacy for our industry, our film culture and for the filmmakers who have been and will be inspired by his work.”
During the 80s, Alan Parker absolutely flourished. The decade saw him behind the camera for Fame, Shoot the Moon, Birdy, Angel Heart and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. One of Parker’s best-known works, Mississippi Burning, was released in 1988. The acclaimed drama earned Parker his second Oscar nomination for Best Director. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had this to say on Twitter.
“From ‘Fame’ to ‘Midnight Express,’ two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker was a chameleon. 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.”
Throughout his career, Alan Park was also a massive champion of the U.K. movie industry. Parker was a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain. Additionally, he was the founding chairman of the U.K. Film Council. Parker was also chairman of the BFI for a short while from 1998 to 1999.
Aside from his Oscar nominations, Alan Parker’s filmography amassed many awards over the years. His movies won 19 BAFTA awards, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars. Social media was awash with tributes to the filmmaker. Ben Stiller, Edgar Wright and David Hayter were among those who paid their respects. Parker is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, his five children and seven grandchildren. May he Rest in Peace. This news was previously reported by Screen Daily.