Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Who was Milos Forman? Oscar-winning director of Cuckoo's Nest dies

Who was Milos Forman? Oscar-winning director of Cuckoo's Nest dies

Forman, who directed "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Hair", and "Amadeus", died suddenly in the US after a "short illness", his wife Martina Zborilova told the Czech news agency CTK.

It didn't take long for Forman's talent to be recognized in Hollywood, which led him to be hired by producer Michael Douglas to direct the 1975 classic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", which went on to receive nine Oscar nominations and win five Academy Awards.

The Czech news agency CTK quoted Martina Forman as saying her husband died suddenly on Friday after a short illness.

In a 2008 interview with the Directors Guild of America, Forman recalls how he, as a newly arrived foreigner, was warned against taking on "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", as the Ken Kesey novel it was adapted from was deemed to be quintessentially American.

Forman travelled to the United States after Communist film authorities rejected his ideas.

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.

Jan Tomas Forman, born in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, was raised by relatives after his parents' deaths and attended arts school in Prague.

The 86-year-old director died at dwelling within the Czech Republic "surrounded the entire time by his household and his closest pals.”".

His father died at Buchenwald while his mother was killed in Auschwitz after both of them were accused of taking part in an anti-Nazi resistance.

He is survived by his wife and four children. The smash movie won eight Oscars out of 11 nominations.

"When we started to make our films, they were really Czech films about Czech society and Czech little people - and who cares about Czech little people?"

Just two years later, Forman made "The Firemen's Ball", a satirical look at the country's communist regime.

Forman won a Best Director Oscar for "The People v. Larry Flint."

Forman (c.) directed Danny DeVito (l.) and Jim Carrey (r.) in the Andy Kaufman biopic "Man on the Moon".

Never prolific, Forman's output slowed even more after "Amadeus", and his three subsequent films were disappointments.

A cigar-puffing cycling enthusiast who always retained a heavy accent, Forman was married to actresses Jana Brejchova and Vera Kresadlova.

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