Alan Parker, director of “Midnight Express,” dies at 76

Alan Parker, director of “Midnight Express,” dies at 76

LONDON — Filmmaker Alan Parker, one of Britain’s most successful directors whose movies included “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Evita,” has died at 76, his family said.

Parker’s diverse body of work includes “Fame,” Mississippi Burning, “The Commitments and “Angela’s Ashes.” Together his movies won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards.

In a statement, the family said Parker died Friday in London after a long illness.

Parker was born in London in in 1944 and, like many other aspiring British directors including Ridley Scott, began his career in advertising.

He moved into television with critically acclaimed 1974 drama “The Evacuees,” which won an international Emmy Award

The next year he wrote and directed his first feature, “Bugsy Malone,” an unusual and exuberant musical pastiche of gangster films with a cast of children, including a young Jodie Foster.

He followed that with “Midnight Express,” the story based on an American’s harrowing incarceration in a Turkish prison. It won two Oscars and gained Parker a best-director nomination.

Parker ranged widely across subjects and genres. “Shoot the Moon” was a family drama, “Angel Heart” an occult thriller and “Mississippi Burning” a powerful civil rights drama that was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Parker was a notable director of musicals, a genre he both embraced and expanded. “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.

Parker also championed Britain’s film industry, serving as the chairman of the British Film Institute and the U.K. Film Council. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Fellow director David Puttnam said Parker “was my oldest and closest friend – I was always in awe of his talent. My life, and those of many others who loved and respected him will never be the same again.”

He is survived by his wife Lisa Moran-Parker, his children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry, and seven grandchildren.

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

film

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Last year’s production of Forever Plaid. File photo
Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society postpones play

The board of the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society announced in a press… Continue reading

The influenza vaccine will be available at no cost starting Monday in Alberta. “The more that we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations, the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health needs," says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Hinshaw urges Albertans to get flu shot as COVID cases jump by 332

Alberta’s central zone now has 132 active COVID-19 cases

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

(The Canadian Perss)
Banff wolves have lower survival rate due to hunting, trapping outside park boundary

Researchers looked at 72 radio-collared wolves in the national park from 1987 to August 2019

Most Read