FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
Associated Press
December 08, 2013 AT 04:13 PM EST

Edouard Molinaro, nominated for an Oscar for directing La Cage aux Folles, a French farce about a gay couple that struck a chord with a broad range of audiences, has died at 85.

French President Francois Hollande’s office confirmed the death in a statement of condolence Saturday, praising Molinaro as “great, appealing and original” and a director who “conquered the public and the admiration of his peers at the same time.” The statement didn’t provide further details.

Molinaro’s career spanned six decades, including crime films and historical adaptations. He was best known for 1978’s La Cage aux Folles, which was nominated for several Oscars. The movie, about two men with a transvestite club in St. Tropez who try to temporarily pretend they’re straight, was remade as The Birdcage in 1996.

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