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Forman, Miloš

Forman, Miloš, 1932–2018, Czech-American filmmaker, b. Čáslav, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic), asJan Tomáš Forman. He attended film school in Prague and worked as a screenwriter and director, becoming a key figure in the Czech New Wave, directing such films as Black Peter (1964), The Loves of a Blonde (1965), and The Firemen's Ball (1967), which satirized socialist bureaucracy and was banned after the Soviet invasion (1968). Forman left (1968) Czechoslovakia for the United States, becoming a citizen in 1975. His first American film, Taking Off (1971), a youth comedy, won critical praise but was a box-office disappointment. With One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975, Academy Awards best picture and director), an adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel, Forman became a directorial sensation. Adaptations of the Broadway musical Hair (1979) and E. L. Doctorow's novel Ragtime (1981) did not fare as well, but that of Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus (1984), about the Mozart-Salieri rivalry, also won best picture and best director awards. Valmont (1989), loosely adapted from Laclos's Les Liaisons dangereuses, was not as well received as 1988's Dangerous Liaisons, based on the same material. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), about the adult magazine publisher, and Man on the Moon (1999), about comic Andy Kaufman, were moderately successful. Goya's Ghosts (2007) portrayed the conflict between art and commercial success in the artist's life. Forman was also a professor of film studies at Columbia from 1978 (emeritus from 1996).

See his autobiography (1994).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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