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Milos Forman, 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' Director, Dies At 86

Milos Forman at the International Rome Film Festival in Rome in 2009. He died at age 86 in Connecticut.
Ernesto S. Ruscio
Getty Images
Milos Forman at the International Rome Film Festival in Rome in 2009. He died at age 86 in Connecticut.

Milos Forman, known for directing the classic films One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, has died at age 86, his manager tells NPR.

Forman's wife Martina told the Czech news agency CTK that Forman died Friday in Connecticut after a short illness.

His manager, Dennis Aspland, confirmed his death was at a hospital near his home in Warren, Conn.

Forman was born in 1932 in what was then called Czechoslovakia. Both his mother and the man be thought was his father were killed at Auschwitz during World War II, he told NPR's Fresh Air in 1994.

Forman later learned his biological father was a man with whom his mother had an affair, according to The New York Times. The man survived the war and was living in Peru by the time Forman found him.

Forman attended the Film Institute at the University of Prague in the 1950s, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He was part of what became known as the "Czechoslovak new wave" of cinema in the 1960s, before Soviets invaded to crush the brief period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring in 1968.

Shortly after, Forman moved to the U.S.

It was there where he gained accolades for the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson as a criminal in a mental institution. It won five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director for Forman.

Forman went on to win more awards as a director with the 1984 film Amadeus, which told some of the story of famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

He was nominated again for the best director Oscar for the 1996 movie The People vs. Larry Flint, though did not win.

One of his last films was Goya's Ghosts in 2006, which was "an intricate examination of persecution in Spain in the era of religious persecution and Napoleonic conquest," as the Times described it.

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James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for NPR.org and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.
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