Milos Forman, the Czech-born movie director who found fame in Hollywood with the Oscar-winning classics One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, has died at the age of 86, Czech news agency CTK reported on Saturday. Forman died on Friday in the United States after a short illness, his wife, Martina, told CTK.
“His departure was calm and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends,” she said. Forman was born in the Czech town of Caslav on Feb. 18, 1932, but moved to the United States after the Communist crackdown on the Prague Spring uprising in 1968. He became a U.S. citizen in the 1970s.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, in which a psychiatric institution becomes a microcosm of the contemporary world, and Amadeus, the life of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through the eyes of his rival Antonio Salieri, earned 13 Oscars between them, including those for best director to Forman.
According to a report in Hollywood reporter, Forman also talked about his choice of films in a 2002 interview. The director said, “I was used to seeing the Russian and Czech films about composers, and they were the most boring films,” he said. “Communists love to make films about composers because composers compose music and don’t talk subversive things.”
“And I am sitting in the theater waiting to fall asleep, and suddenly I see this wonderful drama, which would be wonderful even if it was not Mozart and [Antonio] Salieri. … I was glued to the seat to the very end. And right there after the show, I met for the first time Peter Shaffer, and I told him that if he would ever consider making a movie, I would be very interested.”
His other notable work includes the rock musical Hair in 1979, Ragtime in 1981 and The People vs Larry Flint in 1996, which was nominated for an Academy Award that year.
(With Reuters inputs)