The American filmmaker Richard Donner, who directed the first movie of ‘Superman‘(1978) and popular tapes like’The goonies‘(1985) or’Lethal weapon‘(1987), died this Monday at the age of 91, according to his relatives.
Donner’s widow, Lauren Schuler Donner, reported the death to the specialized publication Deadline, and the filmmaker’s production company confirmed the news to Variety magazine, without revealing the cause or place of his death.
Donner directed some of the most iconic films of the 1970s and 1980s, starting with the horror film ‘The prophecy’ (1976), in which he applied part of what he had learned working on the famous mystery television series ‘The Twilight Zone’.
The greatest success came to him, two years later, with ‘Superman’, starring Christopher reeve So what raised over $ 300 million at box offices around the world, more than five times its $ 55 million budget.
“His ‘Superman’ is the archetype of current superhero movies. We will continue to try to reach the bar he left then, “said Marvel President Richard Feige during a 2017 Donner tribute organized by the Film Academy.
Also the then president of DC Entertainment, Geoff Johns, defined “Superman” at that gala as “the best superhero movie in history”, and praised Donner for making the public believe “that a man could fly”.
Another of his cult films is ‘The Goonies’, a comedy in which a group of children were looking for a hidden treasure and that marked the childhood of millions of people around the world, and also left their mark with ‘Lady Halcón’ (1985), a romantic film starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
But It was the saga of ‘Lethal Weapon’ that raised him to the mecca of directors who have generated more than a billion dollars at the box office, with four successful installments starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.
In the 1980s and 1990s he continued directing ‘blockbusters’: he again relied on Gibson to’Maverick‘(1994) and’Conspiracy‘(1997), after working with Bill murray in the Christmas comedy ‘Ghosts attack the boss‘(1988) and with Antonio Banderas and Sylvester Stallone in’Assassins‘ (nineteen ninety five).
“The best gift in the world”
“Being a director was the best gift in the world. It wasn’t work. It was a pleasure“Donner assured during the gala in his honor organized in 2017 by the Academy.
Donner fell in love with his wife, producer Lauren Shuler, after working together on ‘Lady Halcon’, and began producing several projects with her, such as the third installment of ‘The Prophecy’ and the children’s trilogy ‘Free Willy‘.
In his last active years, he was the executive producer of the blockbuster ‘X Men‘(2000) and its prequel’X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘(2009), which kept their connection to superhero movies alive.
Born in the Bronx (New York) in 1930, Donner studied business and theater and began his acting career on off-Broadway stages, but he immediately became interested in directing and began to make his first steps on television.