Joel Schumacher, director of ‘Batman’ films, dead at 80

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Filmmaker Joel Schumacher, the director of Hollywood hits like “The Lost Boys,” “A Time to Kill,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Batman and Robin” and more, died Monday in New York, according to his publicist.

Schumacher, 80, died in New York after a yearlong cancer battle, the representative announced.

“He will be fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators,” a statement read.

Schumacher was known for his stylistic flair and eye for talent, giving big roles to future superstars like Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew McConaughey, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and others.

He was also an in-demand music video director, including the video for “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal, which appeared on the soundtrack for “Batman Forever,” which Schumacher also directed.

Schumacher famously took over the Batman film franchise from Tim Burton with mixed results and later in his life criticized “Batman and Robin” for being geared toward kids.

“I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that,” he said in 2017.

Schumacher was born in Long Island City on Aug. 29, 1939. An only child, both of his parents died when he was still a young boy which he cited as a reason for addiction issues when he was younger.

“By the time I was seven, I was really out on the streets,” he said in a 1999 interview. “I’ve really done everything wrong that a human being can possibly do, except murder someone, thank God. Fast lane, drugs, you know. I’m a survivor of the ‘60s who stayed way too long at the party.”

Schumacher attended Parsons School and the Fashion Institute of Technology, paying for tuition by working in fashion and at department stores, including as a window dresser at Bendel’s.

Schumacher moved to Hollywood in the early 1970s and worked as a costume designer, including on Woody Allen’s “Sleeper.” Schumacher said Allen was one of the first people to encourage him to direct films himself.

Schumacher’s other films include “Flatliners,” “8mm,” “Falling Down,” “The Phantom of the Opera.” More recently, he directed two episodes of the Netflix series “House of Cards.”

Kiefer Sutherland, who appeared in several Schumacher films, released a statement about his frequent collaborator’s death on Monday.

“His joy, spirt 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.” His mark on modern culture and film will live on forever. I will miss you, my friend.”


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