Joel Schumacher, the veteran American director, died on Monday. He was 80.
The world-renowned filmmaker was best known for directing St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), Flatliners (1990) and Phone Booth (2002), among many other blockbuster movies.
Schumacher established himself as a filmmaker of great flare, which also earned him much criticism in the mid-to-late 1990s after he claimed the Batman franchise from Tim Burton and steered it into its most baroque territory to date, with the cult-classic films Batman Forever (1995) and 1997’s Batman & Robin.
A representative for Schumacher confirmed to the Associated Press (AP) that the industry giant had died on June 22.
He reportedly battled cancer for a year before his death.
In wake of the news, fans, actors and industry workers took to Twitter expressing their grief and sharing their memories of working with Schumacher or watching his works.
Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland shared a heartfelt message, commending Schumacher for giving him “opportunities” and “lifelong lessons.”
Sutherland, 53, appeared in four of Schumacher’s films: The Lost Boys, Flatliners, A Time to Kill (1996) and Phone Booth.
Here’s what some others had to say of Schumacher’s death:
I am in tears learning of Joel Schumacher's passing. He was a force. He was one of kind. Creative. Intense. Passionate. He played a huge part in the shaping of my life. I don't have the right words right now.
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) June 22, 2020
BATMAN FOREVER imprinted itself on me as a a tween and that’s why I am the way I am, I can’t help it. If that’s not cool I don’t care !! RIP Joel Schumacher. (Also THE LOST BOYS is one of the coolest movies ever made)
— Katie Walsh (@katiewalshstx) June 22, 2020
The 1985-2000 version of Film Twitter sneered at Joel Schumacher, and part of it was homophobia. Who was this costume designer, this WINDOW dresser, to think he could direct movies? I always admired him for not giving a damn about that, trusting his eye, and having fun. RIP.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) June 22, 2020
rip to joel schumacher, the only director with the courage to make a batman movie where the characters give each other sloppy kisses and make bad puns for two hours instead of solving crimes
— Dan Ozzi (@danozzi) June 22, 2020
I was lucky enough to work with Joel Schumacher. Smart, funny, talented. A true iconoclast. And he could hold court and tell a story like no other. RIP Joel. https://t.co/WrpAU2K4kz
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) June 22, 2020
I was briefly a VFX office P.A. on BATMAN FOREVER. From my humble vantage point in that very lowly gig, Joel Schumacher seemed like a genuinely kind, ridiculously enthusiastic, and endlessly energetic force. I remember him often yelling his wild approval of things down the hall. https://t.co/y84Ha73kX6
— Charles de Lauzirika (@Lauzirika) June 22, 2020
American actor, comedian and comic book nerd Kevin Smith also took to Twitter, writing: “RIP, Joel Schumacher. I met him on the set of the ill-fated Batman & Robin and he couldn’t have been nicer or more hospitable (and the man loved to gossip).”
“The Incredible Shrinking Woman was an early cable TV classic for me and I loved St Elmo’s Fire, The Client and Flawless.”
Before shepherding the “Brat Pack” onto the big screen in St. Elmo’s Fire and TheLost Boys, Schumacher dressed department store windows across New York City full-time, according to AP.
It wasn’t until after he attended the Parsons School of Design that Schumacher realized he wanted to work in the film industry.
Before becoming an established director, Schumacher worked as a costume designer on a variety of films throughout the ’70s, including Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973) and Interiors (1978), according to Variety.
During his nearly five-decade career in the film industry, Schumacher directed over 20 films and a number of TV shows, including two episodes of House of Cards in 2013.
Though his 2004 take on Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera musical was highly divisive among fans — similarly to his two Batman films — Schumacher was nominated for three Oscars and three Golden Globes Awards.
Schumacher was born in New York City on Aug. 29, 1939, and was raised in Queens by his mother after his father died when he was only four years old.
The openly gay filmmaker once told Vulture that he had slept with up to 20,000 men.
— With files from the Associated Press
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