Director Joel Schumacher, known for Lost Boys, St. Elmo's Fire and Batman films, dead at 80

Joel Schumacher, the journeyman director who dressed New York department store windows before shepherding the Brat Pack to the big screen in St. Elmo’s Fire and steering the Batman franchise into its most baroque territory in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, has died.

He was 80.

A representative for Schumacher said the filmmaker died Monday in New York after a year-long battle with cancer.

A New Yorker, Schumacher was first a sensation in the fashion world after attending Parsons School of Design and decorating Henri Bendel’s windows.

As a director, he established himself as a filmmaker of great flair, if not often good reviews, in a string of mainstream films in the ’80s and ’90s.

The success of his first film, St. Elmo’s Fire, with Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy, not only helped make a name for the Brat Pack but made Schumacher in demand in Hollywood. He followed it up with the 1987 vampire horror comedy The Lost Boys.

After films including Flatliners and A Time to Kill, Schumacher inherited the DC universe from Tim Burton. His garish take on Batman resulted in two of the the franchise’s most cartoonish movies in 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin.

Schumacher, at centre, is seen at the Los Angeles premiere of Batman & Robin with, from left, actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alicia Silverstone, Chris O’Donnell and George Clooney. (Hector Mata/AFP via Getty Images)

Schumacher also directed the thrillers Tigerland and Phone Booth, as well as films ranging from Falling Down to The Phantom of the Opera.

Most recently, he directed two episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards in 2013.

Schumacher was raised in Queens by his mother, after his father died when he was four years old.

As a teenager, he quickly became enmeshed in the city’s nightlife.

“The street was my education,” Schumacher told New York magazine earlier this year.

“You could ride your bike over the 59th Street Bridge then. So I rode my bike everywhere. I was in Manhattan all the time and all over Queens. If you’re a kid on a bike, anything can happen, and predators come out of the woodwork, my God. I looked very innocent, but I wasn’t.”

Schumacher is seen with actor Michael Douglas attending an event during the Bangkok International Film Festival in 2005. (Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)


CBC | Arts News

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