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Albert Magnoli directed Prince to cinematic greatness in Purple Rain, giving audiences a glimpse at a different side of the pop icon’s creative output within the 1984 musical drama. Now, the filmmaker joins a growing list of entertainment industry figures mourning the late singer, who died Thursday, with a touching statement posted to his website on the day of the musician’s death.
“The news of Prince’s sudden and unexpected passing is very difficult to process. He was my creative partner and friend. We shared tremendous times together during and after the making of Purple Rain. I know his fans are devastated,” Magnoli wrote. “I know his music meant so very much to so many people. He was a good man, complicated and diligent, and like men of his caliber, he always demanded from himself and others the very best. Travel well, friend, wherever your next journey takes you.”
Purple Rain is often regarded as one of Prince’s most iconic works, having grossed nearly $160 million at the worldwide box office while spawning the successful single of the same name, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The late legend won his first and only Academy Award for writing the titular song for the film’s soundtrack.
The film also marked Prince’s first lead performance in a narrative feature. He would go on to star in, direct, and/or compose music across a variety of other movies, including Under the Cherry Moon, Batman, Showgirls, Happy Feet, and Purple Rain sequel Graffiti Bridge. Magnoli last directed the 1997 sci-fi film Dark Planet. Since then, according to his website, the director has continued to work on screenplays for his production company, Dark Harbor Pictures, in addition to finishing the script for a film called Black Sunday: The Story of Sausio 13.
Revisit Purple Rain with a look back at the movie’s trailer, above.