Today a major creative in Hollywood has passed away after leaving behind a memorable and impressive oeuvre of classic film works. Director and producer Richard Donner, age 91, died from undisclosed causes as reported by his wife Lauren Shuler Donner (via Deadline).
Born in the Bronx in 1930, Donner first got his start in the industry directing for television on titles including Gilligan’s Island, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and The Twilight Zone. His feature debut came in 1961 with X-15, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Charles Bronson. It wasn’t until 1976 that he made more of a name for himself by directing The Omen, which later led him to be hired on as the director for 1978’s Superman starring Christopher Reeve. This film is considered to be the first landmark, high-grossing super hero film, the genre and style of which now have become tentpoles of today’s box office.
He followed up on the success of that film with Ladyhawke, The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, and the consecutive Lethal Weapon sequels, among many others. His producing credits are equally impressive, including Free Willy, Tales from the Crypt, X-Men, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and more.
Despite being in his 90s, Donner was still scheduled to be involved in the upcoming Lethal Weapon 5 and The Goonies sequel.
Many fellow filmmakers have voiced their respect for Donner and his work, acknowledging his many contributions to the entertainment industry during the 70’s and on. Steven Spielberg said about Donner, “He was all kid. All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his husky, hearty laugh will stay with me always.”
Steven Spielberg reflects on the passing of Richard Donner, friend, and beloved director of THE GOONIES for Amblin Entertainment, who passed away today at 91.#RichardDonner #TheGoonies pic.twitter.com/6KSmKvWqVI
— Amblin (@amblin) July 5, 2021
Thank you, Richard Donner. You made me believe. pic.twitter.com/zmeONQpTUT
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) July 5, 2021
Richard Donner’s big heart & effervescent charm shone in his movies through the remarkable performances of his cast, which is no mean feat. You remember all the characters in Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Goonies & more, because Donner knew how to capture that magic onscreen. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/7NDH9kKnQZ
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) July 5, 2021
Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine.
He commanded 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 kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared.
– Goonies Never Say Die
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) July 5, 2021