Joel Schumacher, who directed several “Batman” films, died from cancer in New York City on Monday at age 80.
Schumacher’s fame began after his three-hit films, “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Lost Boys” and “Flatliner,” but he also designed costumes for "Play It as It Lays" (1972), and "The Last of Sheila" (1973).
Orlando Sentinel wrote that he was also a screenplay writer for the adaptation for 1978 musical "The Wiz."
Schumacher took over the “Batman” franchise when Tim Burton left Warner Bros. after two successful films. Schumacher’s second and last film in the “Batman” franchise was 1997′s “Batman and Robin,” with George Clooney as Batman. Although the movie still had a worldwide gross of $238 million, it was widely panned by critics and fans. One of the "controversies" was Schumacher’s decision to introduce nipples to the batsuit. Some people also felt the gay director was introducing homoeroticsm into the relationship between Batman and Robin – and they criticsed him over it. Schumacher denied it an interview with Vulture in 2019, saying there's always been rumors of Batman and Robin being gay. He also said there were a lot of people who he would say “wanted Clooney to be gay so badly.”
But in 2006, Clooney told Barbara Walters that he had played Batman as gay.
Schumacher in the interview was also asked about his life in the 1950s in New York where he grew up. More specifically, that gay sex “must have been a taboo.”
“I don’t know if it was legal or illegal, I just knew you didn’t talk about it,” said Schumacher. “But I had three girlfriends I had sex with, and some of the guys on my baseball team, [and] a couple [of] guys in high school. I had my first love affair when I was 15 to 17, and he was 17 to 19. That was the first time I remembered really being in love with someone, or let’s say, infatuated. But we both had girlfriends.”
Orlando Sentinel wrote that Schumacher’s work began while he was a student at Parsons School of Design in New York when he decided to pursue a career in filmmaking. He then worked as a costume designer and worked in TV while earning an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.