Nik Powell, Producer on 'The Crying Game,' Dies at 69

Nik Powell -Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2007- Getty-H 2019
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He also co-founded Virgin Records with boyhood pal Richard Branson and headed the National Film and Television School in England.

Nik Powell, a co-founder of Virgin Records with Richard Branson and a producer on films including the best picture Oscar nominee The Crying Game, has died. He was 69.

Powell had been receiving treatment for cancer and died Thursday in Oxford, England, the National Film and Television School announced. He served as its popular director from 2003-17.

"He loved the school deeply and was incredibly proud of every one of our graduates," the NFTS said in a statement. "Nik leaves a lasting legacy and will be missed by us all."

Powell and Stephen Woolley launched the U.K. label Palace Pictures in 1982, and the London native was a producer on three films from writer-director Neil Jordan: The Company of Wolves (1984), Mona Lisa (1986) and The Crying Game (1992), for which Jordan won the original screenplay Oscar.

Powell and Woolley went on to establish Scalla Productions in 1992, and Powell had producing credits on such other films as Backbeat (1994), The Neon Bible (1995), TwentyFourSeven (1997), Fever Pitch (1997), Understanding Jane (2001), Last Orders (2001), Ladies in Lavender (2004) and Brimstone (2016).

Powell and Branson (they were friends as kids) teamed with Simon Draper and Tom Newman to found Virgin Records as a mail-order record operation in 1972; after Powell left for the movie business, the company was sold to EMI in 1992 for $960 million.

Powell also served as chairman of the European Film Academy from 1996-2003 and then was vice chairman.

NFTS director Jon Wardle said he spent "five incredibly happy years" working with Powell as his deputy at the film school.

"He told me recently how his work to support and develop NFTS students to reach their full potential was probably the professional achievement he was most proud of," Wardle said in a statement. "The culmination of his work at the school was recognized in 2018 when together we collected the BAFTA for outstanding British contribution to cinema.

"Nik leaves an unrivalled legacy, and no one has done more than him to set the bar high. We will continue to strive for the future success of the school in his honor."