Joel Schumacher, costume designer-turned-director of films including “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Lost Boys” and “Falling Down,” as well as two “Batman” films, died in New York City on Monday morning after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 80.
Schumacher was equally famous and infamous. Fans will pile on the director for his missteps with the Batman franchise from the 90s, but his contributions to film far extend past the Caped Crusader. Several years after the Batman debacle, Schumacher directed the feature adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera.” Despite tepid reviews, it received three Oscar noms.
Following his Batman brouhaha, Schumacher went in a different direction with his 1999 releases 8MM and Flawless, the latter featuring the up-and-coming Philip Seymour Hoffman as a drag queen
Schumacher was born in the Queens, New York neighborhood of Long Island City on Aug. 29, 1939. He was an only child. His father, who worked in a pharmacy, died when Schumacher was 4; his mother, who was from Sweden, also passed away when he was young.
Schumacher’s feature directing debut came in 1981 with The Incredible Shrinking Woman, which starred Lily Tomlin and showed off surprising color schemes and a striking design. After D.C. Cab, he wrote and directed St. Elmo’s Fire, penned with Carl Kurlander, his assistant at the time.
Schumacher had an incredible eye for young talent and presenting films on elaborate scales.
RIP Joel Schumacher. You will be missed.