Joel Schumacher: Batman director dies aged 80 after battle with cancer

22 June 2020, 20:01

Joel Schumacher has died following a year-long battle with cancer
Joel Schumacher has died following a year-long battle with cancer. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Joel Schumacher, who directed two Batman films and The Lost Boys, has died aged 80 following a year-long battle with cancer.

The Phantom Of The Opera director, born in New York on 29 August 1939, died in the city on Monday morning, according to a representative from his publicists at ID PR.

Schumacher, who also directed A Time To Kill, Flatliners and Phone Booth, became well-known following the successes of St Elmo's Fire - with Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy - and teen vampire horror The Lost Boys.

A statement from ID PR said that he “passed away quietly” and will be “fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators.”

He took on the DC universe from Tim Burton in 1993, releasing Batman Forever in 1995 - with Val Kilmer in the lead role, supported by Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman - and Batman & Robin in 1997 - starring George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman.

His take on the superhero franchise resulted in two of its most cartoonish movies, which received mixed-to-negative reactions from both critics and the public.

He began working in the fashion industry before choosing to pursue a career in Hollywood.

Read more: Batman spotted in Glasgow in February as filming for new movie begins

British-born Keifer Sutherland, who played Jack Bauer in the drama series 24 and starred in five of Schumacher's films, said the director left "a mark on modern culture and film and will live on forever."

"Early today, one of my dearest friends and partners in filmmaking, Joel Schumacher, passed away after a year-long battle with cancer.

"His joy, spirit 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 Phone Booth.

"His mark on modern culture and film and will live on forever.

"I will miss you, my friend."

Fellow filmmaker Kevin Smith said Schumacher "couldn't have been nicer or more hospitable" when he met him on the set of Batman & Robin.

He wrote on Twitter: "RIP, Joel Schumacher. I met him on the set of the ill-fated Batman & Robin and he couldn’t have been nicer or more hospitable (and the man looooved to gossip).

"The Incredible Shrinking Woman was an early cable TV classic for me and I loved St Elmo’s Fire, The Client and Flawless.

Actress Emmy Rossum, who played the lead role of Christine Daaé in the film adaptation of The Phantom Of The Opera, said she was brought to tears upon hearing of his death.

"I am in tears learning of Joel Schumacher's passing. He was a force," she said.

"He was one of a kind. Creative. Intense. Passionate. He played a huge part in the shaping of my life.

"I don't have the right words right now."

Corey Feldman, who starred in The Lost Boys, tweeted: "Joel, you are a beautiful soul and you will be missed!"

Ben Stiller also paid tribute to the director on Twitter, writing: "Just saw this sad news. I had the same experience as Alex (Winter) with Joel, and I never even worked for him.

"He was kind, talented and made movies we went to the theaters for.

"A true professional, and a magnetic presence."