Writer and director Joel Schumacher has died after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.
Schumacher was born in Queens in 1939 and lost both of his parents very early in his life. His father, a pharmacist died when young Joel was only four years old. He later said in interviews that he was basically living on the streets by the time he was seven or eight years old.
Defying the odds, he would later attend design school and worked as a window dresser at Bendel’s department store designing macabre and often outlandish scenes for window shoppers as they passed by.
Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a costume designer. By 1974, he was writing and directing for television before finally making the leap to the big screen with 1981’s The Incredible Shrinking Woman starring Lily Tomlin. St. Elmo’s Fire soon followed and in 1987 he directed the vampire classic The Lost Boys starring Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric.
Schumacher would move in and out of the genre space for the remainder of his career directing Flatliners, The Number 23, and the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. He is also credited with directing perhaps the most-hated Batman film of all time with 1997’s Batman and Robin.
Schumacher lived his life as an out and proud gay man through most of his career, a fact that influenced the themes and style of many of his films.
iHorror sends our condolences to the friends and family of Joel Schumacher.