'Batman Forever' and 'Lost Boys' director Joel Schumacher dies at 80
Joel Schumacher, who began as a costume designer before rising to the top ranks of Hollywood directors, passed away in New York City (AFP Photo/Jason Merritt)

Joel Schumacher, the director of two flamboyant "Batman" films and cult teen classic "The Lost Boys," has died of cancer aged 80.

The maverick who began as a costume designer before rising to the top ranks of Hollywood directors passed away in New York City, publicists ID-PR said in a statement to AFP.

Schumacher "passed away quietly from cancer this morning after a year-long battle. He will be fondly remembered by his friends and collaborators," it said.

The director is best known to wider audiences for the divisive "Batman Forever" (1995) and "Batman & Robin" (1997).

Schumacher had taken over helming the highly lucrative comic book franchise from Tim Burton, and his first effort starring Val Kilmer performed well at the box office.

But both movies, notable for their camp and colorful style, were assailed by many critics and fans, who took particular exception to the nipples Schumacher added to Batman's suit.

In a 2017 interview, Schumacher told Vice he wanted to "apologize to every fan that was disappointed" by "Batman & Robin," adding that he felt "like I had murdered a baby."

The caped crusader's big-screen franchise was later reinvigorated by Christopher Nolan's 2005 "Batman Begins."

Schumacher started as a Hollywood costume designer in the 1970s, working on movies including Woody Allen's "Sleeper" (1973) and "Interiors" (1978).

Brat Pack-starring coming-of-age drama "St Elmo's Fire" (1985) was Schumacher's first bona fide hit as a director.

He followed up with teen vampire movie "The Lost Boys" (1987) and sci-fi "Flatliners" (1990) before helming the "Batman" titles for Warner Bros.

Schumacher is credited with helping to launch several young A-list careers, including Matthew McConaughey in 1996's "A Time to Kill" and Colin Farrell in "Tigerland" (2000) and "Phone Booth" (2003).

Prior to his Hollywood career, he attended art school and worked as a window designer for a New York women's accessories store.