This past weekend, Hollywood was rocked by two major losses in the industry. One is an Academy Award-winning director and the other is a former military officer who would become synonymous with a Stanley Kubrick movie and a horror remake.
We start with Milos Forman, who passed away on April 13 at the age of 86 in Danbury, Connecticut.
Forman won the Academy Award for Best Director for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 and for Amadeus in 1984.
Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia on February 18, 1932, the son of a resort owner and a professor. Forman’s parents were taken by Nazis and both had passed away in concentration camps. Forman would attend the Prague Film Academy and start as a screen-writer. Starting his niche making local Czech documentaries, 1964’s Black Peter was his first feature film and he would bring a style of comedy that would continue throughout his career.
Leaving for the United States in 1968, he made his U.S. film debut three years later with Taking Off, but it was an adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that became his breakout in Hollywood. As a matter of fact, the film earned Forman the award for Best Director at the Academy Awards. He would take his time directing, following up with the musical Hair in 1979 and an adaptation of the novel Ragtime in 1981.
In 1984, he released a biopic of the legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Amadeus, which starred Tom Hulce as the titular character, won a massive eight Academy Awards, including a Best Director award for Forman. He would follow that up with directing Valmont in 1989, an adaptation of the novel Dangerous Liaisons and would bring the story of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt to life in 1996’s The People vs. Larry Flynt with Woody Harrelson in the titular role of Flynt and 1999’s Man on the Moon starred Jim Carrey as tragic comedian Andy Kaufman.
In 2009, Forman made his final film, A Walk Worthwhile, before quietly retiring. Yet in 2012, he reemerged to accept to receive the Directors Guild of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction.
Forman is survived by his third wife Martina, and sons Matej, Petr, Andy, and James.
Here’s Forman receiving his first Best Director award at the Academy Awards in 1976:
The second veteran to pass away this weekend is R. Lee Ermey, who died on April 15 from complications from pneumonia at the age of 74.
Ermey will be forever known for his breakout role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, the drill sergeant who whips the Marines into shape during the Vietnam War in Full Metal Jacket. Horror fans will also known his for his role as Charlie Hewitt, who becomes Sheriff Hoyt in the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 prequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
Ronald Lee Ermey was born in Emporia, Kansas on March 24, 1944. He served in the Marine Corps. for eleven years, eventually given the honor of becoming an honorary Gunnery Sergeant by the Corps. Ermey switched to acting, starting with some low-budget Filipino films and an appearance in Apocalypse Now.
However, in 1987, Stanley Kubrick hired Ermey on the spot to play Hartman, the Gunnery Sgt. who whipped the Marine recruits into shape. According to sources, Ermey was able to ad-lib all of his scenes due to his experience in the Marine Corps. Ermey was originally hired to play a technical advisor before being hired when he convinced the director with his experience.
Ermey continued to succeed in films, especially his villainous turn as Sheriff Hoyt, a sadistic lawman who is revealed to be Charlie Hewitt, the uncle of the crazed killer Leatherface in the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 prequel. Ermey would also host a few shows, such as Mail Call from 2002 to 2007, Lock N’ Load in 2009, and GunnyTime from 2015 to 2017.
Ermey is survived by his wife Nila and four children. Here’s Ermey in his breakout role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket
World Film Geek sends its condolences to the families of Milos Forman and R. Lee Ermey. Rest in Peace to two legends.