Variety says that Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman died yesterday at his home in Danbury, CT after a short illness. His wife Martina Forman confirmed the news. He was 86.
The Czechoslovakian-born director is most famous for winning the Best Director statue twice, once for 1975’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 and the other for Amadeus in 1984.
There’s a little soap opera drama to his background. He was born in Čáslav, Czechoslovakia in 1932 to a t single mom. Both his mother, a hotel proprietor, and the man he thought was his biological dad (a college professor who was part of the anti-Nazi underground) died in concentration camps during the Nazis’ occupation of Czechoslovakia. Years later, he discovered that his actual father was a Jewish architect who survived the Holocaust. Maury Povich wasn’t a thing back then, so no, he didn’t discover the news with help of Maury.
He was raised by relatives and eventually attended the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He left Europe for the US during the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Milos directed several films in his home country and his first US film was the 1971 comedy Taking Off. It was a huge flop (his Wikipedia page quotes him as saying that he actually owed the studio money afterward) but his follow-up was the Michael Douglas-produced Cuckoo’s Nest which won him an Oscar and was the beginning of an illustrious career. Besides 1984’s Oscar-winning Amadeus, his other directorial efforts include the film version of the musical Hair, Valmont (another version of the Dangerous Liaisons story), Larry Flynt biopic The People Vs. Larry Flynt, and the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon.
He was married twice and is survived by two pairs of twin sons, the second set was born in 1999 and named for Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman. Besides the wonderful films he gave us, he should also be known for his huge amount of patience. If anyone saw that documentary about Jim Carrey being the most annoying method actor to ever method-act during the shooting of Man on the Moon, you’ll find yourself in awe of his ability to withhold from punching Jim in the face during filming. The Dalai Lama himself would have found that difficult so Forman was a pretty impressive dude.
Check out Randle McMurphy realizing that Nurse Ratched is pure evil in the scene from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest below.