Joel Schumacher, Director of ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ and ‘The Lost Boys,’ Dies at 80

He also directed the notorious ’90s comic-book movies “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin”

Last Updated: June 22, 2020 @ 11:53 AM

Joel Schumacher, director of films like “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Client” and “A Time to Kill,” has died from a year-long battle with cancer, his spokesperson told TheWrap. He was 80.

His films “Falling Down” (1993) and “8mm” (1999) competed for Palme d’Or and Golden Bear, respectively. His other credits include “Flatliners,” “The Lost Boys,” “Tigerland,” “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin,” as well as “Phone Booth,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Number 23” and, most recently, two episodes of “House of Cards.”

Schumacher developed a reputation for spotting young talent, casting stars like Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew McConaughey and Brad Renfro in their first major screen roles. He also often cast the same actors in different films, collaborating with stars like Farrell, Sutherland, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey and Nicolas Cage.

Schumacher was born in New York City on Aug. 29, 1939. He first studied at Parsons School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, but after working in the fashion industry, he realized he loved filmmaking. He moved to Los Angeles, where he began his career working as a costume designer in films like Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” and “Interiors.”

His first screenplay was 1976’s musical drama “Sparkle,” which he developed with Howard Rosenman. His other screenwriting credits include 1976’s “Car Wash” and 1979’s “The Wiz.” His directorial debut was “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” in 1981 starring Lily Tomlin.

Schumacher directed two adaptations of John Grisham novels: “The Client” and “A Time to Kill.” He then replaced Tim Burton as the director of the “Batman” film franchise, and “Batman Forever” scored the highest-grossing opening weekend of 1995. Its sequel, “Batman & Robin,” was panned by critics and didn’t perform as well at the box office at its predecessor.

The director apologized for the film once in 2006 and again in 2017. “Look, I apologize,” Schumacher had said in 2017. of “Batman & Robin.” “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.”

Schumacher also directed several music videos including “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal and “The End Is the Beginning Is the End” by The Smashing Pumpkins.