MILOS FORMAN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » milos forman


Name: Jan Tomáš Forman                                                                 
Born: 18 February 1932 Čáslav, Czechoslovakia                                           
Jan Tomáš Forman (born February 18, 1932), better known as Milos Forman, is an actor,   
screenwriter, professor and two-time Academy Award-winning film director.                 
Forman was born in Čáslav, Czechoslovakia (present-day Czech Republic) to a             
Jewish father and a Protestant mother. He was orphaned at a very young age when           
his parents died at the German concentration camp in Auschwitz; his father was           
imprisoned due to membership in a Czech Resistance group, his mother imprisoned           
for dealing in illegal grocery trade.                                                     
After the war, Miloš attended King George College public school in the spa town         
Poděbrady, where his fellow students were Václav Havel and the Mašín brothers.       
Later on he studied screenwriting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.           
He directed several Czech comedies in Czechoslovakia. However, in 1968 when the           
USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded the country to end the Prague Spring, he         
was in Paris negotiating for the production of his first American film.                   
The Czech studio for which he worked fired him, claiming that he was out of the           
country illegally. He moved to New York, where he later became a professor of             
film at Columbia University and co-chair (with his former teacher František             
Daniel) of Columbia's film division. One of his proteges was future director             
James Mangold, whom Forman had advised about scriptwriting.                               
In spite of initial difficulties, he started directing in his new home country,           
and achieved success in 1975 with the adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew           
Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which won five Academy Awards including one for                   
direction. In 1977, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Other           
notable successes have been Amadeus, which won eight Academy Awards, and The             
People vs. Larry Flynt for which he received a Best Director Academy Award               
Nomination and a golden globe win.                                                       
Forman's early movies are still very popular among Czechs. Many of the                   
situations and phrases made it into common use: for example, the Czech term               
zhasnout (to switch lights off) from The Firemen's Ball, associated with petty           
theft in the movie, has been used to describe the large-scale asset stripping             
happening in the country during the 1990s.                                               
In 1997 he received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic                     
contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.             
Forman co-starred alongside Edward Norton in the actor's directorial debut               
Keeping the Faith (2000) as the wise friend to Norton's young, conflicted priest.         
In 2006 he received the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award presented by the           
Prague Society for International Cooperation.                                             
Forman's two sons Petr Forman and Matěj Forman are also movie and theatre actors.       
Asteroid 11333 Forman was named after Milos Forman.