Alan Parker, the director of Roddy Doyle's 'The Commitments', and Frank McCourt's 'Angela's Ashes', has died at the age of 74.

Parker's career began in the early '60s, working on advertisements before his feature debut, 'Bugsy Malone', and his follow-up, 'Midnight Express', put him on the map. From there, his work on 'Fame' and 'The Wall', the movie based on Pink Floyd's seminal album, confirmed him as an in-demand director.

Movies like 'Angel Heart' and 'Mississippi Burning' in the '80s were commercial and critical successes, with the latter being nominated for a total of seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography. The movie, however, was criticised heavily by the Civil Rights Movement, with Coretta Scott-King leading a boycott against it. Parker, however, defended the movie as "a work of fiction" in the same way 'Platoon' or 'Apocalypse Now' was a work of fiction about the Vietnam War.

Most people in Ireland, however, would know Alan Parker from his work on two movies - 'The Commitments', and 'Angela's Ashes'. Considered the first in the so-called Barrytown Trilogy, 'The Commitments' is often considered to be one of the best Irish movies ever made, with its frank depiction of pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland and its biting humour. Likewise, 'Angela's Ashes' was equally mixed with the humour and the reality of life in Ireland during the post-war years of the '40s and '50s.

Parker is survived by his wife, Lisa Moran, and his five children.