Legendary Hollywood director Milos Forman dies at 86


And then she was gone.

Forman died on Friday after a brief, unspecified illness, his wife, Martina Zborilova-Forman, told the Czech News Agency (h/t Variety).

He became an established foreign film director in the 1960s for "Loves of a Blonde" and "The Firemen's Ball", which were nominated for Oscars in the best foreign-language film category.

Forman's earliest work in the United States was Taking Off, which turned out to be a critical and commercial failure despite winning the Grand Prix at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. "The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do; what I was or was not allowed to say; where I was and was not allowed to go; even who I was and was not".

Forman would continue making films throughout the 1990s and the 2000s. It was banned in Czechoslovakia for mocking the working classes, until the fall of communism in 1989. He did not return to his homeland until 1983 when he filmed the multi-Oscar-winning Mozart biopic "Amadeus" there.

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"Very sad to hear that the great director Milos Forman has passed away", he wrote.

"My instincts were too Czech". With a cast led by Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, Cuckoo's Nest emerged as a massive success, a seminal product of the New Hollywood and victor of all top five Academy awards. Among them were an adaptation of Franz Kafka's novel Amerika and a comedy starring entertainer Jimmy Durante as a wealthy bear hunter in Czechoslovakia.

The director, who worked meticulously, spending months with screenwriters and overseeing every aspect of production, didn't release another film until 1979's Hair. The film picked up eight Oscars, including Forman's second for Best Director and another Best Picture. ‏ "Milos Forman was our friend and our teacher".

"A director is little bit of everything, little bit of the writer, little bit of an actor, little bit of an editor, little bit of a costume designer", Forman once said. Most of Forman's most acclaimed work often dealt with well-known people with troubled personalities, such as Francisco Goya in Goya's Ghosts, Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon, or Larry Flynt in The People Vs. Larry Flynt.