The Commitments and Angela's Ashes director Alan Parker dies aged 76

Lawrence Kim
August 3, 2020

Again moving in a different direction, Parker then made the gritty musical "Fame", about the highs and lows of the lives of performing arts students in NY - a huge commercial success that spawned a spin-off TV series. As well as the director of films like Bugsy Malone, Fame, and Evita, Parker was a cartoonist, whose work was compiled into several books, including 2005's "Will Write and Direct for Food". At the age of 76, he has passed away in London, his family confirmed.

Born in London, Parker did not set out to be a filmmaker, nor did he have any connections to the business.

Burning would nearly act as Parker's peak as his follow-up films, Come See the Paradise and The Road to Wellville received generally mixed reviews and were box office failures while The Commitments was underwhelming at the box office despite rave reviews and his 1976 adaptation of Evita saw mixed reviews but was a box office smash.

He moved on to TV with critically acclaimed 1974 drama "The Evacuees", which won an global Emmy Award. The adaptation of Lloyd Webber's stage show won three Golden Globes and an Oscar for best original song.

While only a modest success in American, The Commitments has retained cult status and is widely viewed as one of the best Irish films of all time. It only featured young actors, including a young Jodie Foster. However, it was his next film in 1978, Midnight Express which changed everything for him and brought him wide recognition.

"I've been directing since I was 24, and every day was a battle, every day it was hard, whether you're fighting the producer who has opinions you don't agree with, the studios, whoever it is", he said. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best director for Parker. "Shoot the Moon" was a family drama, "Angel Heart" an occult thriller and "Mississippi Burning" a powerful civil rights drama that was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

His last movie as a director was in 2003, "The Life of David Gale", starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. Earlier, he had directed musicals too. These included films such as Fame (1980), Pink Floyd- The Wall, The Commitments (1991) and Evita (1996). All these films proved his penchant for music, while simultaneously discovering his depth.

He was the founding President of the UK Film Council in 2000, a position he held for five years; he received an Order of the British Empire in 1995 and a knighthood in 2002. As the news of his death reached everywhere, tweets started coming in, paying him respect. In 2013, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, the highest honor available in the United Kingdom film industry.

Film.is hugely expensive, and the moment it gets expensive, you've got people you have to serve.

Parker is survived by his second wife, Lisa Moran-Parker; his children, Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry; and seven grandchildren.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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