Alan Parker, whose box-office smashes included The Commitments, has passed away

Alan Parker Two Time Oscar-Nominated Director Dies at 76

A statement from the director's family says Parker died Friday in London after a long illness. His first film, 1976's Bugsy Malone, was a musical about the famous gangster and all the roles were played by children.

Michelle Pfeiffer originally signed on for the film but had to drop out when she fell pregnant, Glenn Close was considered as a replacement, but Parker opted to cast Madonna in the lead role after she wrote him a lengthy letter expressing her desire to take on the role.

The London-born filmmaker had been a major figure in his field, widely respected for a diverse slate of unique films.

Throughout the 1980's Parker made a series of films that were both critically acclaimed and commercial successes including Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and Birdy.

"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 movie won 2 Oscars, consisting of one for Oliver Stone, who composed the script.

Bugsy Malone fetched 8 British Academy Award nominations and 5 Awards.


The director would then soar to new heights with the 1988 biographical crime thriller Mississippi Burning starring Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman, which, though receiving criticism for its depiction of real events, still received rave reviews from critics and was a solid box office success, netting seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Director and four Golden Globe nominations.

Parker also directed Shoot the Moon (1982), Birdy (1984), Come See THE PARADISE (1990), Road to Wellville, Angela's Ashes (1999), and The Life of David Gale (2003). The director returned to his musical roots with the 1991 musical comedy drama "The Commitments", based on the novel by the Irish writer Roddy Doyle. In 2013, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, the highest honor available in the United Kingdom film industry.

He also directed the film Pink Floyd - The Wall, which was inspired by the rock band's hit album of the same name.

Parker received honors in Britain for his achievements in filmmaking, including a knighthood in 2002.

Parker "inadvertently changed my life at the age of 9" by casting Fletcher as Babyface in Bugsy Malone. He said he still gets recognized from the film, 45 years later.

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

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