Milos Forman, the prolific anti-authoritarian director who fled his native Czechoslovakia for creative freedom in the United States, died Friday April 13 aged 86 after battling a short illness, his wife Martina told the Czech news agency CTK.

Forman directed many beloved classics of non-conformity, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (based on Ken Kesey's 1962 novel, with Jack Nicholson as the unruly leader of the patients in a mental hospital) and Amadeus (with Tom Hulce as a very eccentric Mozart and F. Murray Abraham as the eternally tormented Salieri), both of which won him Academy Awards.

Even his early work got incredible interest, including an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film for 1965's The Loves of a Blonde and 1967's The Firemen's Ball which incurred the ire of the communist Czech government.

Forman also helmed two biopics of Americans who bucked the system. Woody Harrelson played embattled Hustler magazine publisher and free speech advocate Larry Flynt in 1996's The People vs. Larry Flynt and Jim Carrey as comedian Andy Kaufman in 1999's Man on the Moon.

Forman is widely cited among favorite film-makers of those in the craft, and will be remembered for his powerful, unconventional work.