Czech-born Oscar winning director Miloš Forman dies at 86


Forman was born in Caslav, Czech Republic, in February 1932. He was orphaned after his parents were taken to concentration camps. His mother died at Auschwitz.

His father was a member of a resistance group against the Nazi occupation.

In a 2004 interview with the LA Times, Forman said, "When we started to make our films, they were really Czech films about Czech society and Czech little people - and who cares about Czech little people? I know exactly what this is about". And then she was gone.

Milos Forman, who twice won the Oscar for Best Director, has died at the age of 86 following a short illness.

After his first USA film, 1971's Taking Off, flopped, Forman didn't get a chance to direct a major feature again for five years.

Telling the story of a village ball where everything goes wrong, "The Firemen's Ball" was produced by Italian magnate Carlo Ponti, who had been charmed by Forman's talent.

Taking Off, an amusing look at generational differences in a changing America, had won praise from critics who compared it favourably to Forman's Czech films. It was banned in Czechoslovakia for mocking the working classes, until the fall of communism in 1989.

The orphan of Nazi Holocaust victims, Forman had abandoned his homeland after communist troops invaded in 1968 and crushed a brief period of political and artistic freedom known as the Prague Spring.

"My instincts were too Czech". Starring Jack Nicholson as an insurgent patient, it was a sensation at the Oscars, winning five major categories (picture, director, actor, actress and adapted screenplay). I lived it. The Communist Party was my Big Nurse.

The film was instant hit that solidified the director as a formidable force in Hollywood, and he later directed "Amadeus", "Hair", "Ragtime", and "The People vs Larry Flint".

Reports stated Forman made the film even after his friends continuously advised him against it saying the story was too American for a foreign director.

- 1958-62: Married to actress Jana Brejchova. With the latter he had twins boys, Matej and Petr, before leaving Czechoslovakia.

Man on the Moon, based on the life of cult hero Andy Kaufman, did win its star, Jim Carrey, a Golden Globe.