Jan Tomas Milos Forman, born February 18, 1932, and died on April 13, 2018, was a Czech American film director, screenwriter, actor and professor who, until 1968, lived and worked primarily in the former Czechoslovakia. Forman was an important component of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Take a look below for 27 more interesting and awesome facts about Milos Forman.
1. His 1967 movie The Firemen’s Ball, on the surface a naturalistic representation of an ill-fated social event in a provincial town, was seen by both film scholars and authorities in Czechoslovakia as a biting satire on Eastern European Communism. As a result, it was banned for many years in Czechoslovakia.
2. After Forman left Czechoslovakia for the United States, two of his movies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, acquired particular renown, and both gained him an Academy Award for Best Director.
3. Forman was also nominated for a Best Director Oscar for The People vs. Larry Flynt.
4. He also won a Golden Globe, Cannes, Berlinale, BAFTA, Cesar, David di Donatello, European Film Academy and Czech Lion awards.
5. Along with future favorite cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek and longtime schoolfriend Ivan Passer, Forman filmed the silent documentary Semafor about Semafor theater.
6. Forman’s first important production was the documentary Audition, whose subject was competing singers.
7. He moved to New York, where he became a professor of film at Columbia University in 1978 and co-chair, with his former teacher Frantisek Daniel, of Columbia’s film department.
8. In 1977, Forman became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
9. In 1985, he headed the Cannes film festival and in 2000, did the same for the Venice festival.
10. In 1997, Forman received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
11. His sons, Andrew and James, were named after Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey. Carrey portrays Kaufman in Foreman’s movie Man on the Moon.
12. He was awarded the fourth annual John Huston Award for Artists Rights by the Artists Rights Foundation in 1997.
13. Forman directed 8 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Elizabeth McGovern, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce and Woody Harrelson. Nicholson, Fletcher and Abraham won Oscars for their performances.
14. He was hand-picked by Michael Crichton to direct Disclosure, but subsequently left the project due to creative differences with Crichton.
15. At the time of his death, he was one of only three living directors who have directed two films that have won the Academy Award for best picture. The others are Francis Ford Coppola and Clint Eastwood.
16. He was reportedly one of the first directors who considered turning the J.R.R. Tolkien novel, The Lord of the Rings, into a live action feature.
17. He was the first choice of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and original producer Irwin Winkler to direct Basic Instinct. Forman liked the script and was interested in directing the film but Carolco, who had paid a record $3 million for the script, made a deal with Paul Verhoeven to direct.
18. Forman studied direction at the Prague Film Academy together with his friend George Skalenakis.
19. During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, as a member of the anti-Nazi Underground, Milos’ father, Rudolf Forman, was arrested for distributing banned books, and died while being interrogated by the Gestapo in the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in 1944.
20. Forman’s mother died in Auschwitz in 1943.
21. Forman said that he didn’t fully understand what happened to his parents until he saw footage of the concentration camps when he was 16 years old.
22. Later in his life, Forman discovered that his biological father was a Jewish architect called Otto Kohn, a survivor of the Holocaust, which made Forman a half-brother of the mathematician Joseph J. Kohn.
23. After World War II, Forman attended the elite King George boarding school in the spa town Podebrady, where his fellow students included Vaclav Havel, the Masin brothers and future filmmakers Ivan Passer and Jerzy Skolimowski.
24. His first wife was Czech movie star Jana Brejchova. They met during the making of the movie Stenata.
25. Forman had twin sons with his second wife, Czech actress Vera Kresadlova. His sons, Petr and Matej Forman, are both involved in the theater.
26. Forman married Martina Zborilova on November 28, 1999. They also had twin sons, Jim and Andy.
27. In 1996, he had an asteroid, 11333 Forman, named after him.