Commitments director Alan Parker dies aged 76

Commitments director Alan Parker dies aged 76
BAFTA Film Awards 2013 – Press Room – London

Director Alan Parker, whose work included The Commitments and Bugsy Malone, has died aged 76.

A statement from a spokeswoman, sent on behalf of the family, said Parker died on Friday morning.

His career included films such as Fame, Evita and Midnight Express – and his works won a total of 19 Baftas, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars.

Parker was born in Islington, London, on February 14 1944, and began his career in advertising as a copywriter.

He graduated to writing and directing commercials, and in 1974 moved into long form drama when he directed the BBC film, The Evacuees, written by Jack Rosenthal.

Parker wrote and directed his first feature film, Bugsy Malone, in 1975 – a musical pastiche of Hollywood gangster films of the 1930s with a cast of children.

Parker’s second film, 1977’s Midnight Express, won two Oscars, six Golden Globes and four Baftas.

Sir Alan Parker and his wife Lisa (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

In 1981, he directed Pink Floyd – The Wall, the feature film adaptation of the band’s successful rock album, which became a cult classic among music fans.

Parker received the Bafta Academy Fellowship Award, the body’s highest honour, in 2013.

Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese and Mike Leigh have been awarded the fellowship.

In 2018, Parker donated his significant private collection of scripts and working papers to the BFI National Archive.

Sir Alan Parker (Jonathan Glynn-Smith/PA)

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

Film director David Puttnam, who produced some of Parker’s films, was among those paying tribute.

He said: “Alan was my oldest and closest friend, I was always in awe of his talent.

“My life and those of many others who loved and respected him will never be the same again.”

James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli said: “I am heartbroken at the news of Sir Alan Parker’s passing.

“It is an enormous loss to the world of cinema and a huge personal loss to his devoted family and friends who loved and admired him.

“His work always exhibited the elements of his personality that we so cherished; integrity, humanity, humour and irreverence and rebellion, and most certainly entertainment.

“He exhibited a curiosity that enabled his versatility from musicals such as Bugsy Malone, Fame and Pink Floyd – The Wall and to films about social justice such as Midnight Express, Mississippi Burning and The Life Of David Gale. He never made the same film twice.

“His love of cinema as an art form began in his early childhood at the Carlton House cinema in Islington where he would ‘escape and dream’ and remained with him throughout his career.”

Director Nick Murphy described Parker as a “huge talent” in a tweet, writing: “Alan Parker made so many wonderful movies. Just wonderful. A huge talent. As I’m sure you know. RIP Alan Parker.”

Bafta wrote on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Bafta Fellow Alan Parker.

“As Bafta-winning filmmaker, he brought us joy with Bugsy Malone, The Commitments, Midnight Express and many more.”

And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which hands out the Oscars, added: “From Fame to Midnight Express, two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker was a chameleon.

“His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and place. An extraordinary talent, he will be greatly missed.”

More in this section

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up