Donner, director of “Superman”, dies at 91



Filmmaker Richard Donner, who helped create the modern superhero blockbuster with 1978’s “Superman” and mastered buddy comedy with the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, has passed away. He was 91 years old.

Donner died in Los Angeles on Monday, his family said through a spokesperson.

Donner made a name for himself with his first feature film, “The Omen” from 1976. A then-unseen offer followed: $ 1 million to direct “Superman”. Donner channeled his love for the character into the making of the film, repeatedly clashing with producers about the need for special effects that would convince audiences that a superhero could truly fly. In the title role, Donner chose Christopher Reeve, who was associated with “Superman” for the rest of his life.

In the 21st century, the genre dominated the box office in the United States and flourished abroad. The chefs at Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment – producers of most of today’s superhero dishes – both worked for Donner when they started out in Hollywood.

Steven Spielberg, who produced “The Goonies,” said in a statement that “Dick had such a powerful mastery of his films and was so good in so many genres. Being in his circle was akin to spending time with your trainer. favorite, smartest teacher, fiercest motivator, endearing friend, staunch ally and – of course – greatest Goonie of all. He was a child. All heart. All the time. I can’t. not believe he’s gone, but his hoarse, hearty laugh will always stay with me. “

Tributes also poured into Twitter on Monday, including from “Goonies” star Sean Astin.

“Richard Donner had the biggest, most powerful voice you can imagine,” Astin wrote. “He got attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him as a 12 year old was that he cared about him.

Director Kevin Smith tweeted that “Richard Donner made the devil a kid in ‘The Omen,” invented the modern comic book movie with “Superman,” and reinvented the buddies movie with “Lethal Weapon”. last about a project. Guy was a born storyteller. Thanks for all the movies, Dick! “

Filmmaker Edgar Wright added, “The big heart and effervescent charm of Richard Donner shone in his films through the remarkable performances of his cast, which is no small feat. Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Goonies and more, because Donner knew how to capture that magic onscreen. “

Wright said he had only met Donner once, but said, “He was funny, charming and full of stories (and happy to answer my geek questions).”

Donner followed “Superman” with an indie, “Inside Moves” in 1980 and “The Toy” with Richard Pryor in 1982. In 1985 he made the children’s adventure classic “The Goonies” and “Ladyhawke”, which would introduce him to his future wife, Lauren Shuler Donner.

The two married the following year. In 1993 they founded The Donners Co., which produced hits such as “Deadpool”, https: // 91 / “The Wolverine” and the “X-Men” franchise. Inflation-adjusted, his films have generated more than $ 1 billion in box office revenue.

“Let me tell you, the director of Dick Donner truly is the sexiest man in the world,” Shuler Donner said during a film academy tribute to the director in 2017.

She said that a director’s personality is often revealed on screen.

“If you watch the Dick movies, Dick is fun, larger than life, strong, strong, with a big mushy heart,” she said. “His confidence, his fearlessness, his humor are what make people adore him and wrapped around me like a protective cloak.

“The combination of learning filmmaking with Richard Donner and falling in love with him has made me, personally and professionally, a better producer and a happier, loving person,” she said, calling “Ladyhawke” theirs. “personal love story”.

“I am the hawk and he is the wolf,” she said.

In 1987, Donner chose Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a pair of mismatched cops in the boyfriend-cop action film “Lethal Weapon”. The film was a success, spawning several sequels and a TV show.

“He was a master storyteller,” Gibson said in 2017. “He was humble. He had that sign above that door that said, ‘Leave your ego at the door,’ and there was no ego around him. It was hard for me to walk into the room, actually. “

Donner followed with the Bill Murray hit “Scrooged” in 1988 and “Lethal Weapon 2” the following year.

His other credits include “Maverick”, “Conspiracy Theory” and “Radio Flyer”.

Although a few of Donner’s films generated Oscar nominations, he was never nominated. But he had the opportunity to thank the academy – and his many friends and colleagues – during the 2017 film academy tribute.

“This industry is my friend, and it’s the greatest gift in the world for me,” Donner said. “You are all my Oscar.”

Information for this article was provided by Sandy Cohen, formerly of the Associated Press.

FILE – Richard Donner arrives at a tribute event in his honor on June 7, 2017, in Beverly Hills, California. The filmmaker, who helped create the modern superhero blockbuster with 1978’s “Superman” and mastered buddy comedy with the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, has passed away. He was 91 years old. Lauren Shuler Donner, his wife and production partner, told Hollywood Business “Deadline” that Donner passed away on Monday, July 5, 2021. (Photo by Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP, File)



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