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Hollywood stars took to social media overnight on Friday to pay tribute to two-time Oscar-winning director Milos Forman, who died Friday at the age of 86 after a short illness.
The acclaimed Czech director who found creative freedom in the U.S. helmed such features as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon. The first two films won Forman best director Oscars, with both titles also capturing best picture, and People vs. Larry Flynt earned him his final best director Oscar nomination.
“Sadly we lost one of the greatest directors in the history of film,” Cuckoo’s Nest producer Michael Douglas said in a statement. “I had the honor of working with Milos on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and cherish what he taught me. My family sends our deepest sympathies to Martina and the children.”
People vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon co-writer Larry Karaszewski called Forman “our friend and our teacher.”
“He was a master filmmaker — no one better at capturing small unrepeatable moments of human behavior,” added the scribe, who penned the screenplays for both films with collaborator Scott Alexander and, with Alexander, recently worked on the first two seasons of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story anthology series. “We made two movies together and every day spent with him was a unique adventure. Milos loved life. I will miss his laughter.”
Meanwhile, the People vs. Larry Flynt‘s subject himself called Forman one of film’s “true visionaries.” Said Flynt, “I will always be grateful to him for telling my story in The People vs Larry Flynt. He was a remarkable man with extraordinary talent. I will miss his presence on this earth.”
One of People vs. Larry Flynt‘s stars, Edward Norton, called Forman “one of my true artistic heroes, not just because he was a great film director but because of his capacity to sustain an exuberant belief that individual human spirit can triumph over institutions of oppression and his conviction that art can and must play a role in that fight for the health of a society.”
Continued Norton: “He was an infectious optimist and lover of life, despite losing both of his parents to the Nazis as a boy and then finding his way as a young man and artist under the Kafka-esque oppressions of a totalitarian state. And, if you were lucky enough to get to know him and hear about these experiences and how they forged him, you realized that for all the success and privilege that came to him, his own perspective was that he was lucky to simply be alive and free and that he had an obligation to keep using his work to shake his fist in defiance. He was my first real mentor in filmmaking and, to this day, I’ve never worked with anyone who matched his wizardry at cultivating the ‘unrepeatable moments’ that made his films so magical. The innumerable wonderful memories I have from working with him on The People vs. Larry Flynt, having him act in my first film and traveling with him to his beloved Prague, remain one of the greatest gifts of my career.”
Natalie Portman, who starred in Goya’s Ghosts, said of Forman: “I loved working with Milos and am so sad to hear of his passing. I am grateful to have gotten to experience the way he made the film set an absurdist adventure, his irreverent humor, his love of food, wine and family, and his phenomenal direction. He made me laugh and he made me think, and I will remember our time in Madrid always as one of the most meaningful filmmaking experiences of my life. I send my deepest condolences to his wife and children.”
Tweeted Man on the Moon star Jim Carrey: “What a force. A lovely man. I’m glad we got to play together. It was a monumental experience.”
Man on the Moon co-star and producer Danny DeVito tweeted, “Milos the magnificent! ?est k jeho památce (honour to his memory) light a good cigar, raise a drink, and shout ‘HOVNO HOVNO HOVNO!'”
DeVito also released a statement in which he said, “He was a dear friend and I will miss him. My thoughts go out to his family. May he Rest In Peace.”
Woody Harrelson, who starred in Forman’s 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt, also paid his respects to the filmmaker, saying, “Milos was a master of his craft, and perhaps had mastered the art of living too. He was a loving papa bear who would yell your name with his big Czech voice when you entered the set or restaurant and wrap his arms around you and make you feel like the center of the world.”
Fellow helmers James Mangold, Ava DuVernay and Edgar Wright also paid tribute to the director they learned from, while actors Antonio Banderas, Josh Gad, Cary Elwes and Mia Farrow also mourned him, with Elwes and Farrow remembering him as a friend.
The Directors Guild of America, which honored Forman with its lifetime achievement award in 2013 after he won the outstanding directorial achievement in feature film award for Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, released a statement from its president, Thomas Schlamme: “Milos was truly one of ours. A filmmaker, artist, and champion of artists’ rights. His contribution to the craft of directing has been an undeniable source of inspiration for generations of filmmakers. His directorial vision deftly brought together provocative subject matter, stellar performances and haunting images to tell the stories of the universal struggle for free expression and self-determination that informed so much of his work and his life. A member of the DGA’s National Board and a recipient of the DGA’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Miloš actively championed artist’s rights throughout his career, speaking multiple times before Congress and world audiences about the importance of creative rights and artists’ protections against the violation of those rights. He stood up on behalf of his beloved fellow filmmakers time and again, and he believed with all his heart that creativity and artistic freedom could make a difference in the world. Now it’s up to us to prove him right. We will miss him.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences posted a video of Forman winning his best director Oscar for Cuckoo’s Nest to its Facebook account, writing, “We’re saddened to hear about the loss of a legend. Milos Forman’s films One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus earned Oscars for best directing and best picture, among others and cemented him as a master storyteller of our time. With a rebellious filmmaker spirit and an eye for life’s small moments, he captured the human condition like none other. His work will continue to inspire for generations to come. Mr. Forman, you are greatly missed.”
Read on to see what others are saying about Forman.
Milos Forman was our friend and our teacher. He was a master filmmaker – no one better at capturing small unrepeatable moments of human behavior. We made two movies together and every day spent with him was a unique adventure. Milos loved life. I will miss his laughter. pic.twitter.com/1ER5ExUUHx
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) April 14, 2018
Very sad to hear that the great director Miloš Forman has passed away. He had a tremendous filmography that documented the rebel heart and human spirit. I have seen ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ enough times to be able to silently mouth along with the movie. RIP. pic.twitter.com/4QwOHL7tS4
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) April 14, 2018
Milos Forman has left us. Genius of cinematography and master in the portrayal of the human condition. RIP pic.twitter.com/pLcXIeEH9h
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) April 14, 2018
Golden Globe-winning director Milos Forman has died at the age of 86. He was known for films including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The People vs Larry Flynt, and Man on the Moon. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/dJrMUj9MwB
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) April 14, 2018
So sad to hear of the passing of legendary director Miloš Forman. The world has lost one of the great filmmakers. No one combined masterful storytelling with extraordinary images like Miloš. Feel privileged to have known him a little bit. Our condolences to his family. RIP pic.twitter.com/7TxRZ3YX3V
— Cary Elwes (@Cary_Elwes) April 14, 2018
— BFI (@BFI) April 14, 2018
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) April 14, 2018
Proof that the most brilliant of filmmakers could also be unfailingly kind, generous, humble and loyal. Thank you Milos Forman pic.twitter.com/btUmryxjRr
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) April 14, 2018
Just learned the sad new about #milosforman who’s movies are among some of my favorites of all time. A resume that produces both “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and “Amadeus” deserves to be up there alongside the greats. Good bye to an icon. And Bravo. pic.twitter.com/tnNHrEgw8H
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) April 14, 2018
Crushed tonight to learn of the passing of one of the great teachers in my life, Milos Foreman. He leaves behind a beautiful and moving and artistically daring collection of films and also many other students touched by his generosity, charm and brilliance. RIP.
— Mangold (@mang0ld) April 14, 2018
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 14, 2018
Milos the magnificent! ?est k jeho památce (honour to his memory) light a good cigar, raise a drink, and shout “HOVNO HOVNO HOVNO!
— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) April 14, 2018
I still remember the rare images of black life in the early 1900s offered in RAGTIME. Saw it as a teen and recall crying. Howard Rollins, Debbie Allen, Moses Gunn. Directed by Milos Forman. He made many films I enjoy. But I’ll be rewatching RAGTIME today. In appreciation. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QOC1lSvzX7
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 14, 2018
Film lost one of its great true visionaries yesterday – Milos Forman. I will always be grateful to him for telling my story in The People vs Larry Flynt. He was a remarkable man with extraordinary talent. I will miss his presence on this earth.
— Larry Flynt (@ImLarryFlynt) April 14, 2018
Another great one passes through the doorway. Milos Foreman. What a force. A lovely man. I’m glad we got to play together. It was a monumental experience. ;^) pic.twitter.com/wzgmOibDHs
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) April 14, 2018
RIP Milos Forman
My love of cinema blossomed over and over again in part to his great contributions. Thank you!https://t.co/Ysi94nHJt3
— Ted Hope (@TedHope) April 14, 2018
RIP Milos Forman. A Czechoslovakian refugee who came to America and directed two of the greatest movies ever made: Amadeus and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His amazing life reminds us that we should welcome the best of the world to the US with open arms.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) April 14, 2018
Milos Foreman’s mother and stepfather were killed at Nazi concentration camps. His biological father was a Holocaust survivor. A young Foreman spent World War II living with relatives, before later coming to the US and making history as an Oscar-winning director.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) April 14, 2018
One of the all time greats: Milos Foreman. Incapable of being ordinary. Ragtime was my second job. I knew how lucky I was, then. I still know , now. Farewell Milos. See you when I get there
— Elizabeth McGovern (@ElizabethMcGov) April 14, 2018
“Cinéma vérité taught me that it’s not a question of having a main character, a great actor, and the rest is unimportant. Every detail, every face in the crowd is important.” — Miloš Forman #RIP pic.twitter.com/lUc4INqRu8
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) April 14, 2018
— TCM (@tcm) April 14, 2018
Will always be grateful to Milos Forman for asking me to test for Amadeus. I didn’t get the part but he gave me hope that I was on the right track. Watch any of his films. They’re ALL good.
— Dana Delany (@DanaDelany) April 14, 2018
Don’t forget two of the brilliant Milos Forman’s more neglected movies, both a wry outsider’s comic take on ’60’s America: “Taking Off” (1971) and “Hair” (1979).
— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) April 14, 2018
We lost one of our great filmmakers with the passing of Milos Forman. It’s time to solve the music rights issues & release a Blu ray of one of his greatest works: TAKING OFF – one of the most accurate portraits of the USA circa 1971 as it could only be interpreted by an outsider. pic.twitter.com/8hEJbPyWs8
— Joe Dante (@joe_dante) April 14, 2018
RIP Milos Forman – 1 of the all-time great filmmakers. Czech/American genius did One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, Man on the Moon, The People Vs. Larry Flynt & Ragtime. Unbelievably rich, varied, emotional oeuvre.
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) April 14, 2018
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of my favorite films of all time. Blatantly steal from it in #Glass. Milos Forman was a true artist.
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) April 14, 2018
Thinking of Milos & his well lived life. Listening to Randy Newman’s demo for Milos’ RAGTIME. Here he is at his lovely house in Connecticut. I remember driving there w/ a long draft of my first film HEAVY in 1994. I was so nervous. He was so kind.https://t.co/epoVB9ZA1Z pic.twitter.com/VvYntFGB7C
— Mangold (@mang0ld) April 14, 2018
Milos Forman was born in 1932. He lost both parents to the Holocaust, but survived the war, came to America… and then directed the Oscar-winning “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus,” among other films.
A true giant.
— Billy Ray (@BillyRay5229) April 14, 2018
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