Richard Donner, the prolific Hollywood director and producer whose credits include some of the most iconic films of the 1970s and 1980s, including Christopher Reeve starring Christopher Reeve. Superman, The Goonies and the Mel Gibson-Danny Glover buddy cop series Deadly weapon, is dead. He was 91 years old.
Donner died Monday, according to his wife, producer Lauren Schuler Donner, and his commercial director. No cause of death has been revealed.
The Bronx-born Donner, a brilliant man with a booming voice, began his career as a director for television. His TV credits include a laundry list of staple 60s shows, including Route 66, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, The Man From UNCLE, Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason and The Wild Wild West. His first feature film X-15 in 1961 starring Charles Bronson (and a young Mary Tyler Moore) was followed by the 1968 crime comedy Salt pepper with Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford, and 1969 Lola with Charles Bronson and Susan George. He turned to full-time movies with the 1976 Phantasmagoric The omen.
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This led to the years 1978 Superman, the original superhero movie that starred Reeve as the Man of Steel with Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Ned Beatty. The Warner Bros. blockbuster with a budget of around $ 55 million grossed over $ 300 million at the global box office. The first film mast based on a superhero comic book character, it won three Oscar nominations and won a Special Oscar for its visual effects. He also rolled the dice for the superhero franchise space now dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Movie Universe.
Dispute with producers caused Donner to withdraw his director’s name Superman ii when Richard Lester was brought in after Donner had shot the majority of the film; a director’s cut of the film with many excised scenes directed by Donner was released in 2006.
By this time, however, Donner had moved on to other blockbuster hits in just about every genre, directing Jackie Gleason and Richard Pryor in comedy. The toy (1982), and in 1985 at the head of the medieval adventure Ladyhawke and the children’s flagship adventure photo The Goonies. This photo, about a group of friends looking for treasure and coming of age on the coast of Astoria, OR, had a screenplay written by Chris Columbus based on a story by Steven Spielberg.
“Dick had such a powerful mastery of his films and was so good in so many genres,” Spielberg said in a statement today upon hearing of Donner’s death. âBeing in his circle was akin to spending time with your favorite trainer, the smartest teacher, the fiercest motivator, the most endearing friend, the most loyal ally and, of course, the greatest Goonie of all. He was a very child. All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his hoarse, warm laugh will always stay with me.
These mid-1980s films were followed by another franchise launch blockbuster at Warner Bros. in the 1987s. Deadly weapon. The film included a role that shot Mad Max Gibson star into a global superstar. Donner led the four Deadly weapon films over an 11-year period. They have grossed over $ 900 million worldwide.
Donner and Gibson would team up as director and star in the movies Maverick (1994) and Conspiracy theory (1997). His directing credits also include the 1988 Christmas staple. Shaved with Bill Murray; the 1980 drama Internal movements with John Savage and David Morse co-written by Barry Levinson; and the coming-of-age drama of 1992 Radio flyer.
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Donner’s last film as a director was the 2006 actor 16 blocks starring Bruce Willis (and a reunion with Morse), the latest in a series of action stars the director has worked with, including Sylvester Stallone (Assassins), GÃ©rard Butler and Paul Walker (Chronology) and of course Gibson.
Donner and his wife producer Lauren Schuler Donner have produced dozens of films under their production banner The Donners’ Company, including the X-Men franchise (Lauren Schuler Donner produced; Richard Donner was an EP) which spawned 13 Notable movies over two- a decade at 20th Century Fox / 20th Century Studios, including the world-wide presentation of Smart Deadpool by Ryan Reynolds. The last photo in the X-Men series, The new mutants, bowed in August 2020. In total, these films brought in nearly $ 2.5 billion worldwide. The duo also produced the years 1993 Save Willy. This low-budget wellness film grossed $ 153 million worldwide.
Click on the photo to launch a photo gallery of Donner’s films.