Date of Birth: February 14, 1944
Born in London, England, Alan Parker started his career as an advertising copywriter in the 1960s. From there, he moved on to direct commercials. In 1971, Melody, his first screenplay was produced, starring two of the hottest young British actors at the time, Mark Lester and Jack Wild, reunited for the first time since their roles in the Oliver! (1968).
Parker directed a couple of short films before moving on to direct the TV movie The Evacuees (1975). He was an immediate success as a director, winning a BAFTA award for direction and an International Emmy Award for the film. The following year, he both wrote and directed the big budget screen musical Bugsy Malone (1976), starring two of the hottest young American actors at the time, Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. The film featured children acting as gangsters and their molls. Bugsy Malone won a slew of BAFTA awards, including a Best Screenplay award for Parker, and two awards for Foster –- one for Best Newcomer and one for Best Supporting Actress.
Parker next directed Midnight Express (1978), the story of an American imprisoned in Turkey for drug smuggling. The film won numerous awards, and Parker received a BAFTA award as well as Academy award and Golden Globe nominations. The film’s success cemented Parker’s position as a top director and he found himself in the U.S. to direct his next film, Fame (1980). About a school for the arts, Fame was a box office success and catapulted several young actors into stardom.
After directing the drama Shoot The Moon (1982), starring Diane Keaton and Albert Finney, Parker returned to Britain for the musical Pink Floyd The Wall (1982). In 1984, Parker directed Birdy, based on the William Wharton novel, starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine. The film went on to win the Grand Prix Special Du Jury at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.
Parker wrote as well as directed his next film, Angel Heart (1986), starring Robert DeNiro, but the film was largely ignored by the movie-going public. Mississippi Burning (1988) was a much bigger hit for Parker, and he was once again nominated for an Oscar®. His next three films bombed at the box office, but he found success with Evita (1996), his self-penned film version of the Broadway musical, starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. Parker next wrote and directed Angela’s Ashes (1999), based on the best-selling autobiography by Frank McCourt. The film won awards around the world, including Best British Film at the Empire Awards.
In 1999, Parker was awarded a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain. In 2002, he was honored with a knighthood for services to the British film industry. Parker next decided to take on the anti-capital punishment film The Life of David Gale (2003), about a convicted rapist/murder (played by Kevin Spacey) who is sentenced to death.
Parker has four children with Annie Inglis, whom he divorced in 1992 after a 26-year marriage. He has since remarried.
Life of David Gale, The (2003)
Angela's Ashes (1999)
Road to Wellville, The (1994)
Commitments, The (1991)
Come See the Paradise (1990)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Angel Heart (1987)
Pink Floyd The Wall (1982)
Shoot the Moon (1982)
Midnight Express (1978)
Bugsy Malone (1976)