Joel Schumacher dead: 'Batman' movies director was 80

Joel Schumacher dead: 'Batman' movies director was 80

Joel Schumacher dead: 'Batman' movies director was 80

Joel Schumacher, an eclectic director whose career ranged from a pair of divisive Batman movies to "St. Elmo's Fire", died Monday after a year-long battle with cancer, a representative for Schumacher told CNN.

Star Trek writer and producer Bryan Fuller and director Kevin Smith were among the first to pay tribute. Val Kilmer succeeded Michael Keaton in the role, and Schumacher took the director's chair for that film as well as its infamous follow-up, Batman and Robin.

Schumacher, who grew up in Queens, started out as a window dresser at Bendel's and became a costume designer on films, working with Woody Allen on the 1973 movie "Sleeper".

His first screenplay was 1976's musical drama "Sparkle", which he developed with Howard Rosenman. However, it was 1985's St. Elmo's Fire, which he both wrote and directed, that really put Schumacher on the map.

Schumacher was given the "Batman" franchise following Tim Burton's exit from Warner Bros. The Lost Boys and The Client did reasonably well for themselves on the critical front, and while Flatliners was a more mixed affair, it remained well known enough to earn the standalone sequel/remake treatment in 2017, with that movie also simply being called Flatliners.

However, his second outing - Batman and Robin - starring George Clooney in the lead and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze was critically panned and almost finished off Clooney's burgeoning film career. He also often cast the same actors in different films: He often collaborated with Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, Sutherland and Farrell.

Schumacher's style came to the fore in two memorable music videos, Seal's Kiss From a Rose and INXS's Devil Inside. He later directed the big-screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera.

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