Oscar-winning Czech-born film director Miloš Forman, known for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, has died aged 86.
His third wife Martina confirmed the sad news to Czech news agency CTK. “His departure was calm and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends,” she said, adding that he died in the US after a short illness.
Born in the town of Čáslav east of Prague on February 18, 1932, Forman lost both parents in Nazi concentration camps.
In the 1960s, he joined the New Wave of filmmakers standing up against the Communist regime in former Czechoslovakia, making himself famous with Black Peter, Loves Of A Blonde and The Firemen’s Ball.
Some of his best-known films are considered modern classics, including his adaptation of the rock musical Hair in 1979, and the Oscar-nominated The People vs Larry Flint in 1996.
But it was his film about a psychiatric institution, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and his biopic of composer Mozart that cemented his legendary director status, as both films won 13 Oscars between them – including both of the Best Director gongs.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), adapted from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, dealt with life inside an Oregon mental institution. Starring Jack Nicholson as an insurgent patient, it was a sensation at the Oscars, winning five major categories (picture, director, actor, actress and adapted screenplay).
Amadeus (1984), starring Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, raked in 11 Oscar noms and eight wins, including those for best picture and director.
Miloš leaves behind wife Martine and his four sons – Andrew and James, named after Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey, and twins Matej and Petr Forman from his second marriage to Vera Kresadlova.