Alan Parker, the British director whose exceptionally wide-ranging oeuvre ranged from “Bugsy Malone” to “Evita,” died Friday morning following a lengthy illness, the British Film Institute has confirmed. He was 76.
Alan William Parker was born in Islington, London. He started his professional life in the advertising industry, thriving as a top copywriter at London’s Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960s and early ’70s. By the late 1960s he was one of the small but hugely influential group of British directors (including Ridley Scott, Hugh Hudson and Adrian Lyne) who revolutionized the look, quality and reputation of TV advertising. In 1974, he moved into longform drama when he directed BBC film The Evacuees and his first feature film came in 1975 with Bugsy Malone. He went on to make several feature films throughout the 80s and 90s.
Two-time Oscar nominee Parker was best known for directing classic films including Midnight Express, Mississippi Burning, Fame, Bugsy Malone and The Commitments.
At Poland’s Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, he shared the cinematographer-director duo award with his lenser Michael Seresin in 2007, and the following year he won a special award for a “director with unique visual sensitivity.” He was also a founding member of the Directors’ Guild of Great Britain. He was awarded the 2013 Bafta Fellowship.
He is survived by second wife Lisa Moran, who had producing credits on several of Parker’s films; his children Lucy, Alexander, Jake, Nathan and Henry, and seven grandchildren.