Many members of the Hollywood community spoke in remembrance of director Jonathan Demme, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 73. Demme famously helmed the Oscar-winning classic The Silence of the Lambs, as well as a wide-range of admired feature films including Melvin and Howard, Something Wild, Married to the Mob, Philadelphia and Rachel Getting Married.
Director Martin Scorsese, in a statement, shared: ”Whenever I ran into Jonathan, he was filled with enthusiasm and excitement about a new project. He took so much joy in moviemaking. His pictures have an inner lyricism that just lifts them off the ground—even a story like The Silence of the Lambs. I have great admiration for Jonathan as a filmmaker—I love the freshness of his style and his excellent use of music, from Buddy Holly to Miklos Rozsa. There’s so much more to be said, and I hardly know where to begin. I also loved him as a friend, and to me he was always young. My young friend. The idea that he’s gone seems impossible to me.”
Jonathan Demme was a great artist, humanitarian, activist & a warm encouraging colleague. I’ve known very few like him. He will be missed https://t.co/wQv5QRqHoN
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 26, 2017
Meryl Streep, who appeared in Demme’s 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate and starred in Ricki and the Flash for the director, commented, “A big-hearted, big tent, compassionate man – in full embrace in his life of people in need – and of the potential of art, music, poetry and film to fill that need – a big loss to the caring world.”
Very sad to hear of the passing of the great Jonathan Demme. Admired his movies, his documentaries, his concert films. He could do anything. — edgarwright (@edgarwright) April 26, 2017
While Jodie Foster, who won an Oscar for her performance in The Silence of the Lambs, said, “I am heart-broken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him. Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy, the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative. Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul. JD, most beloved, something wild, brother of love, director of the lambs. Love that guy. Love him so much.”
I know now that this was also the last time I saw Jonathan Demme. Fitting that it was in an act of love and generosity. Such a kind man. https://t.co/qYUZqXz2NU
— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) April 26, 2017
Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for leading Demme’s Philadelphia, wrote, “Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living. He was the grandest of men.”
Mary Steenburgen, who won an Oscar for Demme’s Melvin and Howard, wrote in a statement: “Jonathan Demme came into my life when he directed me in Melvin and Howard. I won an Oscar for that role and I can’t imagine that having happened with any other director. He was pure magic. Brilliant technically but he never let that make him isolated. He included everyone on that set in the making of the movie in the most edgy, thrilling, wildly collaborative way. He did the same thing in Philadelphia. And, there, we never forgot for a moment that that film could change the experience of being HIV positive in this country and it did. The heartbeat and the integrity of it began with Jonathan’s goodness and sense of justice. I’m so proud to have been in it.”
“I think the last public appearance he may have made was to host the NYC screening of my son, Charlie McDowell’s film, The Discovery. It can’t have been easy for him to go to NYC from Nyack and do that a couple of weeks before his death. But Jonathan celebrated and honored creativity more fiercely than anyone I have ever known. My daughter worked with him in The Manchurian Candidate. We all admired him so much. I send all of our family’s love to his beautiful family and I will hold him where he’s always been, in my heart, forever.”
Devastated by the passing of Jonathan Demme. Enormously funny, talented, kind man & a warrior for social justice. Condolences to his family.
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) April 26, 2017
— Matthew Modine (@MatthewModine) April 26, 2017
David Bryne took to his website to remember Demme, writing in part:
“My friend, the director Jonathan Demme, passed last night.
I met Jonathan in the ‘80s when Talking Heads were touring a show that he would eventually film and turn into Stop Making Sense. While touring, I thought the show had turned out well and might hold up as a movie, and a mutual friend introduced us. I loved his films Melvin and Howard and Citizens Band (AKA Handle With Care). From those movies alone, one could sense his love of ordinary people. That love surfaces and is manifest over and over throughout his career. Jonathan was also a huge music fan—that’s obvious in his films too—many of which are jam-packed with songs by the often obscure artists he loved. He’d find ways to slip a reggae artist’s song or a Haitian recording into a narrative film in ways that were often joyous and unexpected.”