Richard Donner, director of “Superman”, dies at 91
The director of some of the most famous and beloved films of the 1970s, 80s and 90s has passed away. Richard Donner, the man behind Superman, The Goonies, and the four Deadly weapon movies died on Monday. He was 91 years old. His death has been confirmed by his wife and business manager, although no cause of death has been given.
Born in the Bronx, Donner had originally planned to become an actor, then found success behind the camera. He started out in advertising and then turned to television, directing episodes of popular series like Uncle’s man, Gilligan Island, Kojak, and The fugitive. He directed one of the most famous episodes of The twilight zone: “Nightmare at 20,000ft”, starring William Shatner as an airplane passenger who cannot convince anyone else on his flight that there is a mysterious creature on the wing of their jet .
Donner’s transition to filmmaking was slow and was not immediately successful. His first hit came with 1976 The omen, still one of the great evil kids’ movies of all time. Two years later, his Superman completely changed the way people thought about superheroes. Over a decade of Batman The TV show reruns had convinced the world that the comics were a blunder. His epic treatment of the Man of Steel proved otherwise. He arguably doesn’t get enough credit for the foundations he laid for modern comic book movies.
Donner also worked on Superman ii, although the finished film was ultimately awarded to director Richard Lester, until Donner’s original vision for the film was reassembled in 2006 as Superman II: The Richard Donner Cup. A few years later he made another of the defining films of the decade with the 1985s The Goonies, the story of a motley group of children who set off in search of a lost pirate treasure.
Two years later The Goonies, Give had another massive and remarkable success with the first Deadly weapon. Starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, it went on to become one of the greatest cop buddy movies of the era, spawning three sequels – all also directed by Donner.
While the Deadly weapon The franchise occupied Donner for most of the 1990s, he sneaked into other projects between sequels, including the Bill Murray comedy Shaved and the hugely underrated film version of the TV show Maverick, starring Gibson, Jodie Foster and original series star James Garner.
Donner’s production has slowed down in recent years; his last directorial effort was the 2006 thriller Bruce Willis 16 blocks. He also wrote several Superman comic stories with his former assistant turned screenwriter and DC Comics executive Geoff Johns. Tributes to Donner are already pouring in from all over Hollywood, including one from Steven Spielberg, who produced The Goonies and said in a statement to Deadline, “Dick had such a powerful mastery of his films and was so good at so many genres. Being in his circle was akin to spending time with your favorite trainer, the smartest teacher, the fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, most loyal ally and, of course, the greatest Goonie of all. He was a child. All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his hoarse and warm laughter will always stay with me.
With some filmmakers, when the death disappears, the title says it all. With Donner, no movie could capture the breadth of his film and television career, across different genres and decades, including many of his life’s greatest hits. Its impact will continue to be felt for generations to come. After all, he made us believe that a man could fly.
Every DC Comics movie, ranked from worst to best
Of Superman and the Mole Men at Zack Snyder Justice League, we’ve categorized each movie based on the DC comics.