Joel Schumacher, Director of 'St. Elmo's Fire, 'Batman' Films, Dead at 80

Acclaimed filmmaker Joel Schumacher passed away on Monday morning, according to a report by Variety. He died at his home in New York City early in the morning. He was 80 years old.

Schumacher's mark on pop culture is incalculable, as he brought his one-of-a-kind aesthetic to everything he touched. The costume designer-turned-director is known for iconic films like The Lost Boys and Batman Forever, among others. While not all of his works were huge commercial or critical successes, just about all of them have been long-remembered by movie fans. On top of that, his Batman movies have had an undeniable impact on the now-thriving genre of comic book movie adaptations.

A New York City native from birth, Schumacher studied at the New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology within the city as a young man. He worked in the fashion industry early on but took the chance to get into filmmaking as soon as possible. He moved to Los Angeles for a time, working as a costume designer in the TV industry while pursuing an MFA from UCLA.

Schumacher designed costumes and wrote screenplays throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, but his career really took off when he began working with "The Brat Pack." St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys established Schumacher's bold aesthetic sensibility firmly in the public consciousness and left many eager for more. Thankfully, Schumacher was there to provide.

Schumacher took to the world of movie adaptations easily, having gotten some of his first screenwriting credits by adapting musicals for the screen. With the success of his Brat Pack films, he directed film adaptations of two John Grisham novels in the early 1990s, both of which Grisham publicly praised. After that, he was tapped to take over for Tim Burton in the thriving Batman movie series.

For better or for worse, most superhero fans have a lot to say about Schumacher's entries into the DC Comics canon. He first directed Batman Forever starring Val Kilmer in 1995, though Schumacher may be more closely associated with Batman & Robin in 1997. There, the leading role was re-cast once again as George Clooney, while Schumacher's campy aesthetic shone through more than ever.


Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Schumacher dove into projects further and further from the mainstream in the years that followed. Many of his later works were big critical successes, and celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage lined up to work with him.

Schumacher left behind no children or spouses, but his passing hit film fans hard on social media, where many are mourning him now.