Anderson (left) on the set of Around the World in 80 Days with producer Michael Todd and Frank Sinatra, who filmed a cameo appearance.
Michael Anderson, the Oscar-nominated British film director, has died at age 98. Anderson directed producer Michael Todd's star-packed 1956 screen adaptation of Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days". The film won the Best Picture Oscar and became a boxoffice blockbuster, earning Anderson a Best Director nomination in the process. The previous year, Anderson had directed "The Dam Busters", which became the top-grossing British film of the year. Anderson had the ability to comfortably move between genres with equal skill. Among his other credits: "The Wreck of the Mary Deare", "Shake Hands with the Devil", the 1958 film version of Orwell's "1984", "All the Fine Young Cannibals" (the title of which inspired the name of a short-lived 1980s rock group), "Operation Crossbow", "The Quiller Memorandum", "The Shoes of the Fisherman", "Conduct Unbecoming" and "Orca". In 1976, he directed the hit science fiction film "Logan's Run". He is the father of actor Michael Anderson, Jr. For more click here.
Milos Forman, the Czech immigrant to Hollywood who would be awarded two Oscars, has died at age 86. Forman was a rising star in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, directing such lighthearted, quirky films as "Black Peter" and "The Fireman's Ball". Forman's films were breaking new ground at a time when the progressive Czech government was pushing the envelope against Soviet control and enjoying new freedoms. All of that came crashing down in 1968 when the short-lived "Prague Spring" was crushed by the Soviet invasion. Forman immigrated to America and found the opportunity to make films for major studios. However, his first effort, the critically acclaimed 1971 generation gap comedy "Taking Off" failed at the boxoffice. In 1975, Forman was given another chance, this time by producer Michael Douglas to direct the film version of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". The film swept the major Oscar categories and Forman was honored as Best Director. Forman was painstaking in his choice of film projects, motivated more by passion for the subject than finding a wide audience, although he did direct the film adaptation of the Broadway stage musical "Hair" in 1979. However, the movie came along years too late to click with young viewers. In 1981, Forman adapted E.L. Doctorow's bestseller "Ragtime" to the screen. The massive production was at odds with his tendency to direct smaller, more personal stories. The film won wide acclaim in some quarters but was an expensive failure at the boxoffice. He rebounded, however, in 1984 with the film version of the stage hit "Amadeus", and once again won the Best Director Oscar. Forman worked only sporadically in the following years, directing such diverse fare as "Heartburn", "Valmont", "Man on the Moon" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt". For more click here.