Cuckoo's Nest director Milos Foreman dies

Milos Forman

Forman directed almost two dozen films in his career, but he enjoyed his greatest critical and commercial success during the '70s and '80s.

He was "a great director" with "a tremendous filmography", Wright wrote on Twitter.

Forman was born in the Czech town of Caslav on February 18, 1932.

Antonio Banderas, who has said he was inspired to become an actor when he watched Forman's 1979 musical Hair, described him as a "genius of cinematography and master in the portrayal of the human condition".

He made his name as a leading figure in Czech new wave cinema in the 1960s, but moved to the U.S. when Russian troops invaded in 1968.

He moved to the United States in the late '60s to make his first American film, the 1971 commercial failure "Taking Off". But the follow-up, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, firmly established him in Hollywood. Starring Jack Nicholson, the film was an adaptation of Ken Kesey's 1962 novel of the same name. It was nominated for, and won, multiple Oscars, including Best Picture.

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When Soviet tanks rumbled into Prague in August 1968, Forman was in Paris for negotiations on his first American production and was sacked by his Czech studio, leading him to emigrate.

Forman's next best-known work was Amadeus, the story of Mozart told through the eyes of his bitter rival Saieri, adapted from a play by Peter Shaffer. Its Oscars included best picture and best director.

Forman, the anti-authoritarian director who left his native Czechoslovakia for creative freedom in the USA, was also known for two biopics - "The People vs. Larry Flynt" (1996) and "Man on the Moon" (1999). At the time, Forman was in Paris, in negotiations for Taking Off, a USA production about the youth protest movement. Forman, also known for two biopics about controversial Americans - The People vs. Larry Flynt(1996) and Man on the Moon (1999) - died Friday in the US after a short illness, according to his wife, Martina, who broke the news to the Czech news agency CTK.

Married three times, Forman met his third wife Martina - a writer three decades his junior - in Prague in the 1990s.

"His departure was calm and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends", Martina said, adding that he passed away after a short illness.

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