Director Jonathan Demme Has Died
Jonathan Demme, the director who unleashed Sir Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter to the world in 1991’s The Silence of The Lambs, died on Wednesday. He was 73.
According to a statement released by his publicist, the filmmaker, who was surrounded by his wife Joanna and their three children, died following a battle with esophageal cancer.
The Silence of The Lambs, which starred Jodie Foster as an FBI agent on the hunt for a vicious serial killer, grossed nearly $273 million at the worldwide box office and won five Oscars, including awards for Best Actor (Hopkins) and Best Actress (Foster).
Two years later, Demme’s Philadelphia – one of the first feature films to tackle AIDS – earned Tom Hanks an Oscar for his performance as a gay lawyer.
His earlier titles include Melvin and Howard – the story of a service station owner who claims to be the beneficiary of Howard Hughes – and the mafia comedy, Married to the Mob.
Proving his solid ability to tackle different genres, the filmmaker – stepping into the music world- helmed Stop Making Sense and Justin Timberlake and The Tennessee Kids – concert films for The Talking Heads and Justin Timberlake respectively.
His other feature films include feature films, include 2008’s Rachel Getting Married, starring Anne Hathaway who returns home for her sister’s wedding, and 2015’s Ricki and The Flash, in which Meryl Streep’s aging rocker returns to her Indiana roots following a family crisis.
Since the announcement of Demme’s passing, tributes have poured in from the entertainment world.
“I am really shocked and very sad to hear about Jonathan’s passing,” said Sir Hopkins in a statement. “He was one of the best, and a really nice guy as well who had such a great spirit. Every day being with him was a high five. My condolences to his family.”
“I am heartbroken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him,” said Foster in her own statement. “Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy, the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative.
Other tributes have come from, among others, Tom Hanks, Stephen King, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, Ron Howard, Susan Sarandon and Thandie Newton.