Oscar winning Czech director Milos Forman dies aged 86

Milos Forman

Oscar-winning Czech-born film director Milos Forman, known for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus", has died aged 86, his agents told AFP on Saturday.

The two-time Oscar victor passed away following a short illness, his third wife Martina confirmed to Czech news agency CTK.

His manager, Dennis Aspland, confirmed Forman's death to hollywoodreporter.com and noted that the filmmaker had a home in Warren, Connecticut.

He also directed the rock musical Hair in 1979, Ragtime in 1981, the Oscar-nominated The People vs. Larry Flynt in 1996, and Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon in 1999.

But this was only the beginning for the fresh Czech who later moved to the U.S. to direct Academy Award-winning films "Amadeus" and "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". Forman then had another huge success with Amadeus, a film version of Peter Shaffer's play about the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri; it won eight Oscars, including Forman's second for best director.

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"That is the only way to open the film to a certain kind of lightness", he said.

Born in the town of Caslav east of Prague on February 18, 1932, Forman lost both parents in Nazi concentration camps. "Communists love to make films about composers, because composers compose music and don't talk subversive things".

His next film, A Blonde in Love - inspired by a real-life incident in which Forman came across a young woman who had been duped and abandoned by a lover - established the free-wheeling, semi-documentary style that became his trademark in this period and made Forman a key figure in the burgeoning Czech new wave.

Jan Hrebejk, a leading Czech film director and a friend and former classmate of Forman's wife Martina, told Reuters news agency the director was a gifted storyteller and a great person. After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Forman emigrated to the United States, where he built a brilliant career in the movies.

"No matter what subject or genre he tackles, Miloš finds the universality of the human experience in every story, allowing us - his rapt audience - to recognize ourselves within the struggle for free expression and self-determination that Miloš so aptly portrays on the silver screen", past DGA President Taylor Hackford said at the time. He also wrote and acted in several of his movies.

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