Édouard Molinaro, the prolific French director who helmed and co-wrote 1978’s La Cage Aux Folles, has died in Paris. He was 85. The Bordeaux-born filmmaker died of lung failure, reports the BBC. One of his best-known works was the comedy La Cage Aux Folles about a gay couple who attempt to play straight to impress their son’s future in-laws. Molinaro was Oscar-nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, sharing the latter with Francis Veber, Marcello Danon, and Jean Poiret. The pic adapted from Poiret’s stage play preceded two sequels, the first of which was helmed by Molinaro, as well as a Broadway musical based on Poiret’s original. Mike Nichols’ American remake The Birdcage opened at #1 in 1996 and starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane with a Miami-set screenplay by Elaine May. For Molinaro, La Cage roughly marked the halfway point in a five-decade career during which he frequently directed some of the country’s biggest stars. Notable films include La Chasse A L’Homme (Male Hunt) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac, Une Ravissante Idiote (A Ravishing Idiot) starring Brigitte Bardot and Anthony Perkins, Mon Oncle Benjamin (My Uncle Benjamin) starring Jacques Brel, and L’Emmerdeur starring Brel and Lino Ventura. French president François Hollande applauded Molinaro’s career in a statement, per the BBC: “This filmmaker, who had a rich and varied career, directed the greatest actors of French cinema while winning over the public, and winning the admiration of his peers, at the same time.”
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