Entertainment

Joel Schumacher dies at 80 after year-long battle with cancer


Acclaimed Hollywood film director Joel Schumacher has died at age 80. 

A spokesperson confirmed that Schumacher – who directed The Lost Boys and Batman Forever among many other films – died in New York City on Monday morning, after a suffering year-long battle with cancer.

The statement read: ‘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 this morning after a year-long battle. He will be fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators.’ 

Hollywood royalty: Director Joel Schumacher - pictured here in 2013 - has died at age 80, after a battle with cancer. Schumacher died Monday morning in New York, it was reported.

Hollywood royalty: Director Joel Schumacher – pictured here in 2013 – has died at age 80, after a battle with cancer. Schumacher died Monday morning in New York, it was reported. 

Schumacher – who was openly gay – famously took over the Batman franchise from director Tim Burton with the two box-office smashes Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) although the films were less favorable with critics.

However, Schumacher had an impressive career in Hollywood overall, directing classic films such as Flatliners (1990), The Lost Boys (1987), St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).

His first movie was directing Lily Tomlin in the sci-fi comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman in 1981, which received positive reviews. 

But it was his string of success directing the three hit films, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, and Flatliners that propelled him to becoming one of Hollywood’s busiest movie directors.  

Classic: Val Kilmer in 1995's Batman Forever, directed by Schumacher

RIP: Shcumacher in 2004

Schumacher famously took over the Batman franchise from director Tim Burton with the two box-office smashes Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) although the films were less favorable with critics.

Classic: Schumacher rose to fame directed hit '80s films such as the cult classic The Lost Boys (1987)

Classic: Schumacher rose to fame directed hit ’80s films such as the cult classic The Lost Boys (1987)

Classic cinema: Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe St Elmo's Fire (1985) directed by Joel Schumacher

Classic cinema: Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe St Elmo’s Fire (1985) directed by Joel Schumacher

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Unsurprisingly, tributes from A-List Hollywood stars poured out on Monday, expressing their grief at Schumacher’s passing. 

Kiefer Sutherland called the director one of his ‘dearest friends’ saying: ‘His joy, spirit and talent will live on in my heart and memory for the rest of my life. Joel gave me opportunities and lifelong lessons, making films such as The Lost Boys, Flatliners, A Time To Kill and Phonebooth.’

He added: ‘His mark on modern culture and film will live on forever. I will miss you, my friend.’

Ben Stiller paid tribute on Twitter saying: ‘He was kind, talented and made movies we went to the theaters for. A true professional, and a magnetic presence.’

Bill & Ted actor Alex Winter, who worked with Schumacher on The Lost Boys, tweeted: ‘Joel was a creative genius; a master at clothing design, costuming, writing and of course directing.’

Lost: Kiefer Sutherland called the director one of his 'dearest friends' in this touching tribute on Twitter

Lost: Kiefer Sutherland called the director one of his ‘dearest friends’ in this touching tribute on Twitter

Paying respect: Joel directed Jim Carrey in the thriller The Number 23, which was against type for the actor, who said the director 'saw deeper things in me than most'

Paying respect: Joel directed Jim Carrey in the thriller The Number 23, which was against type for the actor, who said the director ‘saw deeper things in me than most’

Tributes: Emmy Rossum - who was directed by Schumacher in the Oscar-nominated The Phantom of the Opera (2014) - said she was 'in tears' leaning of his passing.

Tributes: Emmy Rossum – who was directed by Schumacher in the Oscar-nominated The Phantom of the Opera (2014) – said she was ‘in tears’ leaning of his passing.

'He shaped my life': Emmy Rossum poses with Joel Schumacher (left) and Andrew Lloyd-Webber at the 2004 premier of The Phantom of the Opera in Leicester Square, London

‘He shaped my life’: Emmy Rossum poses with Joel Schumacher (left) and Andrew Lloyd-Webber at the 2004 premier of The Phantom of the Opera in Leicester Square, London

A-List: Ben Stiller, who did not work with the director, re-tweeted a tribute from The Lost Boys star Alex Winter

A-List: Ben Stiller, who did not work with the director, re-tweeted a tribute from The Lost Boys star Alex Winter

Devastated: Catherine Zeta-Jones also shared her sadness following Joel's passing. 'I adored Joel Schumacher and I am saddened by his passing today. I so wish that I could have worked with him, but to know him was to love him. Rest In Peace Joel,' she penned

Devastated: Catherine Zeta-Jones also shared her sadness following Joel’s passing. ‘I adored Joel Schumacher and I am saddened by his passing today. I so wish that I could have worked with him, but to know him was to love him. Rest In Peace Joel,’ she penned

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He added: ‘Joel saw something in me as an actor I didn’t see and gave me the confidence and space to pursue it. Unfairly savaged by critics his entire career, his great work will live on. 

Catherine Zeta-Jones also shared her sadness following Joel’s passing.  

‘I adored Joel Schumacher and I am saddened by his passing today. I so wish that I could have worked with him, but to know him was to love him. Rest In Peace Joel,’ she penned.

Emmy Rossum – who was directed by Schumacher in the Oscar-nominated The Phantom of the Opera – said she was ‘in tears’ leaning of his passing. 

She continued: ‘He was one of a kind. Creative. Intense. Passionate. He played a huge part in the shaping of my life. I don’t have the words right now.’

Jim Carrey wrote: ‘He saw deeper things in me than most and he lived a wonderfully creative a heroic life. I am grateful to have had him as a friend.’ 

Clerks director Kevin Smith shared: ‘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 looooved 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.’  

Famous friends: Joel (far right) poses in 2005 with actor Michael Douglas in Bangkok

Famous friends: Joel (far right) poses in 2005 with actor Michael Douglas in Bangkok

Prolific: Schumacher directed Michael Douglas in the 1993 crime thriller Falling Down

Prolific: Schumacher directed Michael Douglas in the 1993 crime thriller Falling Down

Schumacher was accused of introducing homoerotic elements to the relationship between titular characters Batman and Robin, when he took over the franchise from Tim Burton who had put a much darker spin on the caped crusader.

Speaking about Batman and Robin in 2017, Schumacher said: ‘I want to apologise to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.’ 

Following the debacle, Joel went on to direct the feature adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera, which scored three Oscar nominations. 

Most recently, the director helmed a couple of episodes of Netflix series House of Cards in 2013, and worked as an executive producer for the ID channel series Do Not Disturb: Hotel Horrors. 

Another classic: Tommy Lee Jones in the big-screen adaptation of the John Grisham novel The Client (1994)

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Another classic: Tommy Lee Jones in the big-screen adaptation of the John Grisham novel The Client (1994)

When asked in a 1999 interview if he had any advice for young filmmakers, he said: ‘Be bold, take risks, follow your own instincts, listen to other people only when you really believe in your gut that they’re right.’

‘Get a great cast. Get a cinematographer that isn’t jealous that you’re the director. Get an editor that’s not jealous you’re the director. You can do it.’

Schumacher certainly had a tireless career in the business, turning out a long list of movies, some of them misses like the Nicolas Cage-starring 8MM (1999) and Jim Carrey thriller The Number 23 (2007), but many other big hits. 

He made a Hollywood star out of Colin Farrell who starred in his 2000 war movie Tigerland, and worked together again on the action-thriller Phone Booth (2003). 

He also directed Oscar-winners including Cate Blanchett in Veronia Guerin (2003) and Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the crime drama Flawless (1999) 



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