Alan Parker, director of 'Evita' and 'Bugsy Malone', dies

Director Sir Alan Parker who made Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express and Evita has died at the age of 76

Director Sir Alan Parker who made Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express and Evita has died at the age of 76

Oscar-nominated English director Alan Parker, known for his work on "Evita", "Bugsy Malone,"Midnight Express" and other memorable films, died Friday morning after a long illness, the British Film Institute confirmed".

Born on February 14, 1944 in Islington, North London, Parker began his career as an advertisement copywriter and commercial director. Together his movies won 10 Academy Awards, 10 Golden Globes and 19 British Academy Film Awards.

He went on to earn his first Oscar nomination for best director for 1978 prison drama "Midnight Express", which won Oliver Stone the Best Screenplay prize. His other credits included the family drama Shoot the Moon, the horror Angel Heart and the legal thriller The Life of David Gale.

Parker was also a notable director of musicals, a genre he both embraced and expanded. Alan Parker blossomed in the 1970s, creating a rapid succession of celebrated and successful films, starting with the striking 1976 gangster musical comedy Bugsy Malone, which featured a cast of children. Fame was a gritty but celebratory story of life at a performing arts high school; Pink Floyd - the Wall was a surreal rock opera; The Commitments charted a ramshackle Dublin soul band; and Evita cast Madonna as Argentine first lady Eva Peron in a big-screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical.

In 2002, Parker was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

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Sir Alan then wrote and directed two short films and a television play set in wartime London before his first major success came with The Evacuees in 1975 - a television play written by Jack Rosenthal about the experiences of two Jewish boys evacuated from London during the Blitz.

Film director David Puttnam remembered Parker as his "oldest and closest friend", adding: "I was always in awe of his talent".

"His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and place", it said in a tweet, calling him "a chameleon" for his ability to bend genre and change with the times.

Parker is survived by his wife, his five children, and his seven grandchildren.

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