BUGSY MALONE, EVITA Director Alan Parker Dies at 76
By Jessilyn Lancaster, Managing Editor
Famed director Alan Parker died July 31 due to a lengthy illness. He was 76.
Parker was perhaps best known for his movies BUGSY MALONE, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, EVITA, and MISSISSIPPI BURNING.
Parker was born on Valentine’s Day in 1944 in Islington, London, England. Parker began working as a copywriter and director of TV ads as a teenager.
“Looking back, I came from a generation of filmmakers who couldn’t have really started anywhere but commercials, because we had no film industry in the United Kingdom at the time,” Parker told Robert Emery in The Directors. “People like Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Adrian Lyne, Hugh Hudson, and myself. So commercials proved to be incredibly important.”
Parker’s first feature movie was BUGSY MALONE, which featured children playing gangsters who shot splurge guns with streams of whipped cream instead of bullets.
Parker said he wanted to create a movie that was safe for his own children to watch.
“I’d worked a lot with kids and I had four very young children of my own at the time,” Parker told John Andrew Gallagher in Film Directors on Directing.
“When you do have young children like that you’re very sensitive to the kind of materials that’s available for them … The only kind of movies they could see were Walt Disney movies … I thought it would be nice to make a movie that would be good for the kids, and also the adults that had to take them. So to be absolutely honest, BUGSY MALONE was a pragmatic exercise to break into American film,” Parker said.
However, not all of his movies were family friendly.
The Los Angeles Times reports Parker’s films won 10 Oscars, 10 Golden Globes and 19 BAFTA Awards. In 1979, he received his first Oscar nomination for directing MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, followed by a second directing nomination 10 years later for MISSISSIPPI BURNING.
However, Parker didn’t just work in movies.
According to Deadline:
Parker was also the author of the best-selling novel written from his own screenplay of Bugsy Malone, published by HarperCollins. In addition he wrote two other published novels, Puddles In The Lane, (1977) and The Sucker’s Kiss (2003). He was also an adept cartoonist and painter.
In 1984 Parker was honored by the British Academy with the prestigious Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema. In 1998 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain and the Lumiere Medal from the Royal Photographic Society. He was awarded the 2013 Bafta Fellowship.
Parker is survived by his wife, Lisa Moran, and four children.