Filmmaker Joel Schumacher has died. He was 80 years old.
The openly-gay Schumacher began his career as a window dresser and fashion designer before trying his hand in Hollywood. He designed costumes for the Woody Allen films Sleeper and Interiors before getting into screenwriting, penning the scripts to the cult films The Wiz, Car Wash and Sparkle. Car Wash, in particular, earned attention for its depiction of gay characters and setting around West Hollywood.
Schumacher made his directorial debut with The Incredible Shrinking Woman, which starred Lily Tomlin. He subsequently went on to a successful studio career, helming the Brat Pack films St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys, as well as the John Grisham adaptations A Time To Kill and The Client. He hit a career-high when he took over the direction of the Batman film franchise from Tim Burton. Batman Forever, the third entry in the series, became a smash-hit at the box office. The follow-up, Batman & Robin, had a much different reception. The film failed commercially and critically, and is often cited as one of the worst movies ever made.
The 2000s saw Schumacher rebound with the dramas Tigerland, Bad Company and The Phantom of the Opera, the latter an adaptation of the popular stage musical. His last film, Tresspass, starred Oscar-winners Nic Cage and Nicole Kidman, and his screens in 2011.
Though often dismissed as a mediocre filmmaker, Schumacher had a clear eye for talent, casting Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Keiffer Sutherland, Demi Moore, Colin Farrell and Matthew McConaughey in key early roles, all of whom hit a new level of popularity thanks to their work with the director.
Schumacher always lived as an openly gay man, though he generally kept the details of his dating life private. He made headlines in 2019 when he boasted that he had sex with between 10,000 and 20,000 men in his life. He died from cancer after a year-long battle.