Director Milos Forman, best known known for his work on Oscar-winning films One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, has died at the age of 86, his wife Martina has told the Czech news agency CTK.
Forman was born in 1932 in Czechoslovakia. He was orphaned after his parents were taken to concentration camps.
After working in theatre in Prague in the 1950s he moved to the United States in the late 1960s, and despite initially struggling in his career, he secured his breakthrough when actor Michael Douglas and producer Saul Zaentz offered him a chance to direct a film adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
The film, released in 1975, starred Jack Nicholson and told the story of patients in a mental institution in Oregon. It was nominated for and won multiple Oscars, including Best Picture.
Forman's next best-known work was Amadeus, the story of Mozart told through the eyes of his bitter rival, Salieri, adapted from a play by Peter Shaffer. It afforded Forman an opportunity to return to his home country – where, according to his official biography, filming was tightly controlled by the secret police. It too was critically acclaimed, winning multiple Academy Awards.
Other notable films by Forman include Hair in 1979, The People vs. Larry Flynt in 1996, which was also nominated for an Academy Award, and Man on the Moon in 1996.
Forman married three times. He is survived by four sons from his last two marriages.