The Who2 Blog

Joel Schumacher is Dead, and All We Have is This One Terrible Photo

Veteran filmmaker Joel Schumacher has died at age 80. The director of hits like St. Elmo’s Fire and Batman Forever had been fighting cancer for a year, according to Variety.

Joel Schumacher directed 25 films between 1981 and 2011 — almost a film a year, and that’s a record anyone could be proud of. Most of his films were mid-level successes in the vein of the 1990 thriller Flatliners: $26 million budget, $61 million in box office, and meaty roles for rising young stars Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland. Lively stories, modest budgets, steady returns and the occasional hit: that’s how you keep getting hired in Hollywood.

Schumacher was also openly gay throughout his career. It’s difficult to remember now how groundbreaking that was in the 1980s, but it’s worth a salute now.

And now for the bad news. This is the only public-domain photo we can find of Joel Schumacher for our biography:

Joel Schumacher looks disheveled and sweaty, as if caught by surprise on a day off, as a fan snaps a photo

Kasper2006 / Wikimedia Commons

Not quite flattering, is it? This was taken at the 2003 Taormina Film Festival, which is held each July on the Italian island of Sicily. It’s hot there in July: average high of 84 and low of 73, say the experts. (“During the night it can be very warm and sticky.”) Looks like a fan caught Schumacher on one of those sticky nights.

Who2 has always proudly respected photo rights and other intellectual property. Since our photo deal with WENN ended a few years ago, we’ve relied on public domain images for our biographies. That works pretty well these days: we can usually find an old PR photo, Instagram shot, or Wikimedia Commons photo (like this one) that is clear to use.

This case is the rarity where we can’t find an available photo that is also halfway flattering. That may be because Joel Schumacher spent his career behind the camera and was never quite famous enough to warrant, say, a magazine cover for People or Premiere. Fans didn’t follow him around to get a Comic-Con head shot. He didn’t do Instagram. As a result, this is the only shot of him available on Wikimedia Commons, thanks to user Kasper2006.

Kasper2006 / Wikimedia Commons

If we didn’t know better, we’d think Schumacher is asking, “Is this the best you can do?” Legally, yes it is. Sorry, man! Nice career!

Now see our Joel Schumacher biography »

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