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Milos Forman

Filmmaker
Date Of Birth:
18 February 1932
Date Of Death:
13 April 2018
Place Of Birth:
Czechoslovakia
Best Known As:
The director of 'Amadeus' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'
Born and raised in Czechoslovakia but enthralled with the United States, Milos Forman won Oscars for directing the movies One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus. Orphaned by the Nazis during World War II, he was raised and educated by the state in communist Czechoslovakia after the war. Interested in theater, Forman went to film school and studied scriptwriting, getting his professional start in 1957. He made short films and features under the watchful eye of Czechoslovakian officials, including The Firemen's Ball (1967), which was nominated for an Oscar as the best foreign language film. Forman moved to the U.S. to make his next movie, 1971's Taking Off, a critical hit but box office flop. He stayed in the U.S. thanks to money made from a TV commercial, and in 1974 actor/producer Michael Douglas hired him to direct the film version of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The 1975 film won Oscars for best picture and best director, as well as Oscars for actors Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher and Brad Dourif. Forman became a naturalized U.S. citizen and continued to make movies in the U.S., including the film version of the musical Hair (1979). His 1981 film Ragtime was expensive and expansive and featured a return to the screen by James Cagney, but it was a box office failure. Forman's next film was 1984's Amadeus, a huge hit that earned 11 Oscar nominations and won him another award for directing. Despite costumer spectacles such as Amadeus and Valmont (1989), Milos Forman's films are mostly known for his approach to simple stories of people struggling within a microcosm of society. His other films include The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996, starring Woody Harrelson), The Man on the Moon (1999, starring Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman) and Goya's Ghosts (2006). As an actor, Milos Forman appeared in Heartburn (1986, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Nora Ephron), New Year's Day (1989, by Henry Jaglom) and Keeping the Faith (2000, starring Edward Norton).