Joel Schumacher, the filmmaker behind The Lost Boys and two Batman movies, died on Monday, June 22. He was 80.
“Filmmaker Joel Schumacher, director of such films as St. Elmo’s Fire, A Time to Kill, The Client and Tigerland, passed away quietly from cancer in NYC this morning after a yearlong battle. He will be fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators,” a spokesperson for the family said in a statement to Us Weekly.
The New York City native started out as a costume designer after studying at Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He ventured into screenwriting in 1976 with Sparkle, which was inspired by The Supremes and remade in 2012 with Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston as the leads. Two years later, he wrote the screenplay for The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
Schumacher made his directorial debut in 1981 with the Lily Tomlin-led The Incredible Shrinking Woman. By the mid-‘80s, his career took off thanks to two Brat Pack movies: 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire (starring Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore) and 1987’s The Lost Boys (starring Jason Patric and Corey Haim).
The director’s success continued a decade later when he took over the Batman franchise from Tim Burton with 1995’s Batman Forever, in which Val Kilmer played the title character. The movie was a hit at the box office that year, although critics were not blown away. Still, Warner Bros. Pictures had faith in Schumacher and hired him to return for 1997’s Batman & Robin, featuring George Clooney as the Caped Crusader. The film bombed, leading Schumacher to step down and the studio to cancel plans for Batman Unchained.
“Look, I apologize,” the filmmaker said in a 2017 interview with Vice about Batman & Robin’s 20th anniversary. “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.”
Hollywood was not deterred by his failures though. After Schumacher helmed the 1994 adaptation of John Grisham’s book The Client, the author personally requested that the director return for 1996’s A Time to Kill, which starred Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey.
Schumacher’s other big-screen successes included 1990’s Flatliners, 1999’s 8mm, 2002’s Bad Company and the 2004 movie adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. Additionally, he directed two episodes of House of Cards in 2013.Listen to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
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