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Batman Forever and Lost Boys director Joel Schumacher dies at 80

Joel Schumacher, best known to wider audiences for the divisive Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997), died of cancer.

Los Angeles 

JOEL Schumacher, the director of two flamboyant Batman films and cult teen classic The Lost Boys, has died of cancer aged 80.

The maverick who began as a costume designer before rising to the top ranks of Hollywood directors passed away in New York City, his publicists ID-PR said in a statement.

"(Mr Schumacher) passed away quietly from cancer this morning after a year-long battle. He will be fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators," it said.

The director is best known to wider audiences for the divisive Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997).

He had taken over helming the highly lucrative comic book franchise from director Tim Burton, and his first effort starring Val Kilmer performed well at the US and international box office.

But both movies, notable for their camp and colourful style, were assailed by many critics and fans, who took particular exception to the nipples that Mr Schumacher added to Batman's suit.

In a 2017 interview, Mr Schumacher told Vice magazine he wanted to "apologise to every fan that was disappointed" by Batman & Robin, adding that he felt "like I had murdered a baby".

The caped crusader's big-screen franchise was later reinvigorated by director Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005).

Mr Schumacher started as a Hollywood costume designer in the 1970s, working on movies including director Woody Allen's Sleeper (1973) and Interiors (1978).

Brat Pack-starring coming-of-age drama St Elmo's Fire (1985) was Mr Schumacher's first bona fide hit as a director.

He followed up with teen vampire movie The Lost Boys (1987) and sci-fi Flatliners (1990) before helming the Batman titles for Warner Bros.

He is credited with helping to launch several young A-list careers, including Matthew McConaughey in A Time To Kill (1996) and Colin Farrell in Tigerland (2000) and Phone Booth (2003).

Prior to his Hollywood career, Mr Schumacher attended art school and worked as a window designer for a New York women's accessories store. AFP

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