Film director and screenwriter Milos Forman. Photo courtesy of Petr Novak via Wikipedia.

Oscar-Winning Director Milos Forman Dead At 86

The man who brought Mozart and a psychiatric hospital to life on film has died.

Film director, actor¬†and screenwriter Milos Forman, best known for his Academy Award-winning films “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus”, passed away Friday night. The BBC reports that Forman died in a Danbury, Connecticut hospital.

He was 86.

Born in Caslav in former Czechoslovakia, Forman’s parents, his mother and the man he thought was his biological father; died in the Nazi concentration camps and he was raised by relatives. He later found out his biological father was a Jewish man who survived the Holocaust.

He attended the prestigious King George prep school in Podebrady and later studied screenwriting in Prague. He began his film career in 1954 as an actor, appearing in two Czech films. He made his writing debut in 1958’s “Puppies” and directed his first feature, “Why Do We Need the Bands?” in 1963.

His film “Loves of a Blonde” was nominated in 1964 for the Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Another one,¬†“The Fireman’s Ball” was nominated in 1967.

He continued making films in Czechoslovakia before moving to the U.S., with his first English-language feature being the comedy “Taking Off” in 1971. The film was a flop, and Forman struggled before directing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1975, which won five Oscars including his first for Best Director.

He also directed the successful film version of the musical “Hair” in 1979, and “Ragtime” in 1981, before winning another Oscar for the sweeping 1984 biopic of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Amadeus”.

Other movies included “Valmont”, “The People Vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man on the Moon”. His last English-language film as a director was 2006’s “Goya’s Ghosts”.

He became a U.S. citizen in 1977 and was a professor emeritus in film at Columbia University.

Forman was married three times and had four children.