Iconic UK filmmaker Alan Parker has passed away at 76

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Alan Parker, Pink Floyd, death

Celebrated UK director Alan Parker, whose unique vision led to the creation of such iconic films as BUGSY MALONE, MISSISSIPPI BURNING, EVITA, and PINK FLOYD: THE WALL, has passed away at 76 after a prolonged illness, the British Film Institute has confirmed.

As a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, Parker was known by many as a pillar of the UK film community. He was the founding Chairman of the UK Film Council in 2000, a position that he held with great pride for five years. Parker also assumed a number of other titles, such as Chairman of the BFI as well as an Officier des Arts et Letters in France. As if that were not enough, Parker also earned a CBE in 1995, the highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award. He was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Born in Islington, London, on February 14, 1944, Parker launched his career in advertising as a copywriter but in time had leveled-up to writing and directing commercials. By the late 1960s, many had come to recognize Parker as a British director who was changing the game with regard to the overall look and quality of advertising on television. While a number of filmmakers working within Parker's arena were content to deliver adverts that lacked substance, Parker's contributions were hailed as intelligent, story-driven takes on marketing.

In 1974, he graduated to long-form drama after being assigned as the director of THE EVACUEES, a BBC film written by Jack Rosenthal, which won the International Emmy Award and a BAFTA award for direction. In 1975, Parker wrote and directed his first feature film, BUGSY MALONE, starring a young Scott Baio and Jodie Foster. After the film received eight BAFTA film nominations and five awards that year, Malone quickly established Parker as a feature-length filmmaker to watch. Parker then followed Malone with the controversial MIDNIGHT EXPRESS in 1978, which won two Oscars and six Academy Award nominations, including a win for Best Director.

With his flag firmly planted in the feature film camp, Parker went on to direct FAME in 1980 and SHOOT THE MOON in 1982. Later that same year, Parker directed PINK FLOYD: THE WALL, a visual accompaniment to one of the most legendary rock albums of all time. In 1984, Parker directed BIRDY based on the William Wharton novel, starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine. This emotional war drama focused on two friends who after returning home from the Vietnam War find themselves forever changed.

Throughout the years, Parker would go on to direct a number of notable features, such as MISSISSIPPI BURNING, THE COMMITMENTS, the bizarre comedy THE ROAD TO WELVILLE, and the Madonna-led EVITA, based on the stage musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. In addition to then directing music videos for the "Immaculate One," Parker directed the final two films of his long-standing career, ANGELA'S ASHES (1999) and THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE (2003).

A legend has left us today with the passing of Alan Parker. As a small comfort, I've no doubt that his influence on the art of filmmaking will be felt throughout the industry for generations to come. We here at JoBlo would like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Parker's family, friends and fans. May he find safe passage to the Great Hereafter, and may his work live on in the hearts and minds of cinephiles all across the globe.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.