Joel Schumacher, the Man Who Gave Us Bat-Nipples, Has Died at 80

Joel Schumacher, font of camp and whimsy.
Joel Schumacher, font of camp and whimsy.
Image: Elisabetta Villa (Getty Images)

Say what you will about Joel Schumacher’s stint as the architect of Batman’s cinematic presence, but never let it be said that the director didn’t have taste.

Variety reports that the Batman Forever and Batman & Robin director died at 80 years old on Monday morning, following a lengthy fight against cancer over the course of the past year. Much as fans go on about Batman & Robin’s infamous pair of Bat-nipples, Schumacher’s influence on Hollywood extended far beyond the city limits of his colorful, oversized take on Gotham.


Schumacher gave his voice to The Wiz’s cinematic adaptation as a writer, realized The Lost Boysrealm of cool California vampires, and cursed us all with the most baffling production of The Phantom of the Opera to ever be committed to film, to name just a few of his projects. Schumacher deftly navigated multiple spheres within Hollywood, slipping between the worlds of television and film with ease all the while operating with the express intent of making his distinct sense of camp evident in his work.

Kiefer Sutherland, who worked with Schumacher several times throughout his career, shared this heartfelt tribute to the director:

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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Fuck the haters. Batman Forever is awesome (#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut). And Joel Schumacher in general always seemed like a pretty kind man.