He died on Friday in the U.S. after a short illness, according to his wife Martina.
Forman would win another directing Oscar for 1984's "Amadeus" and be nominated again for 1996's "The People vs. Larry Flint". Starring Jack Nicholson as an insurgent patient, it was a sensation at the Oscars, winning five major categories (picture, director, actor, actress and adapted screenplay). The film won eight Academy Awards, including Forman's second Oscar for Best Director.
When Forman arrived in Hollywood in the late 1960s, he was lacking in both money and English skills, but carried a portfolio of Czechoslovakian films much admired internationally for their quirky, lighthearted spirit.
Gilles Jacob, former director of the Cannes Film Festival, said Forman had loved "beer, tennis, Cannes".
The Czech government, realizing the money to be made by letting Amadeus be filmed in Prague, allowed Forman to come home, and the public hailed his return.
He was raised an orphan after both his parents died in concentration camps during World War Two.
"When we started to make our films, they were really Czech films about Czech society and Czech little people - and who cares about Czech little people?"
In another adaptation, this time from an E. L. Doctorow novel and nominated for eight Oscars, Forman explored the roots of racism in the United States via an epic 1900s fresco set in and around NY following a black jazz pianist's experience of deep injustice and his radical rebellion, with fatal consequences.
In August 1968 Czechslovakia was invaded by Warsaw Pact forces aiming to suppress Alexander Dubcek's liberalising reforms; Forman opted to stay in the U.S., were he was joined by fellow director Ivan Passer.
At the time, Forman was in Paris, in negotiations for Taking Off, a US production about the youth protest movement.
- 1999: Marries his third wife, screenwriter Martina Zborilova with whom he has another set of twin sons. His other notable films include "Hair", "Ragtime" and "Man on the Moon". They were named after comedian Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey, who played the part of Kaufman in "Man on the Moon".
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