Bugsy Malone’s Alan Parker dies

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Alan Parker, the film director, writer and producer who brought such classics as Bugsy Malone, Mississippi Burning and Angela’s Ashes to the screen, died today aged 76.

The winner of 19 BAFTA awards, ten Golden Globes and no fewer than ten Oscars, Parker was perhaps the most successful British film maker ever. He was also passionate about the film industry, was a founding member of the Directors’ Guild and founding chairman of the UK Film Council in 2000, speaking forthrightly in support of talent and in advocating subsidy for film making.

Born on a council estate in Islington on St Valentine’s Day 1944, the son of a dressmaker and a house painter, on leaving school Parker went into advertising as a copywriter, quickly graduating to writing and directing commercials. By the late 1960s he was one of the small, but hugely influential, group of British directors (including Ridley Scott, Hugh Hudson and Adrian Lyne) who revolutionised the look, quality and reputation of TV advertising by combining sophisticated, witty storytelling with cinema aesthetics for the first time.

In 1974 Parker directed the BBC film, The Evacuees, written by Jack Rosenthal, which won the International Emmy Award and a BAFTA award for direction, and the following year wrote and directed Bugsy Malone, his first feature film, with a cast comprised entirely of children. It was produced by Alan Marshall and co-executive produced by David Puttnam, both of whom had started their careers with Parker in advertising.

In 1998 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain, was awarded the CBE in 1995 and knighted in 2002.

He leaves his wife, Lisa Moran-Parker, five children and seven grandchildren.

 

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