‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Lost Boys’ director Schumacher dies at 80
Published: Jun 23, 2020 05:38 PM

An eight-meter-tall sculpture of Batman celebrates the Gotham crime fighter's 80th birthday get a lot of attention from Shanghai residents on Tuesday. Photo: IC

Joel Schumacher, the director of two flamboyant Batman films and cult teen classic The Lost Boys, has died of cancer aged 80.

The maverick who began as a costume designer before rising to the top ranks of Hollywood directors passed away in New York City, publicists ID-PR said in a statement sent to AFP.

Schumacher "passed away quietly from cancer this morning after a year-long battle. He will be fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators," it said.

The director is best known to wider audiences for the divisive Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997).

Schumacher had taken over helming the highly lucrative comic book franchise from Tim Burton, and his first effort starring Val Kilmer performed well at the box office.

But both movies, notable for their camp and colorful style, were assailed by many critics and fans, who took particular exception to the nipples Schumacher added to Batman's suit.

In a 2017 interview, Schumacher told Vice he wanted to "apologize to every fan that was disappointed" by Batman & Robin, adding that he felt "like I had murdered a baby."

The caped crusader's big-screen franchise was later reinvigorated by director Christopher Nolan's 2005 Batman Begins.

Schumacher started as a Hollywood costume designer in the 1970s, working on movies including Woody Allen's Sleeper (1973) and Interiors (1978).

Brat Pack-starring coming-of-age drama St Elmo's Fire (1985) was Schumacher's first bona fide hit as a director.

He followed up with teen vampire movie The Lost Boys (1987) and sci-fi Flatliners (1990) before going on to helm the Batman titles for Warner Bros.

Schumacher is credited with helping to launch several young A-list careers, including Matthew McConaughey in 1996's A Time to Kill and Colin Farrell in Tigerland (2000) and Phone Booth (2003).

Prior to his Hollywood career, he attended art school and worked as a window designer for a New York women's accessories store. 

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