Director Richard Donner has died, USA Today reports. The filmmaker, who was known for his work on Goonies, Lethal Weapon and more, was 91 years old. He died Monday (July 5), as confirmed by his production company, and no cause of death was given.
Donner, a Bronx native who was born in 1930, got his start in the industry directing TV shows, starting in the ’60s with Route 66, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason and The Wild Wild West, and more. He directed his first film in 1961 with the debut of X-15, and moved exclusively to films in 1976, when he directed The Omen.
Just years later, he worked with Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Ned Beatty on 1978’s Superman, the iconic superhero film that earned three Oscar nominations and an Academy Award for visual effects. Following the success of the first Superman film, Donner went on to direct The Toy, Ladyhawke and The Goonies.
“Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine. He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before,” Goonies star Sean Astin tweeted. “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.” He added, “Goonies Never Say Die.”
Steven Spielberg, who produced The Goonies, shared his own tribute to the late director on Twitter. “Dick had such a powerful command of his movies, and was so gifted across so many genres. Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and — of course — the greatest Goonie of all,” he wrote.
Donner’s Goonies was followed by another hit with the release of 1987’s Lethal Weapon, which went on to spawn a whole franchise with four films in total, all of them directed by Donner.
His later films included Maverick, Assassins, Conspiracy Theory, and Timeline. His most recent directing credit is 2006’s 16 Blocks, an action film starring Bruce Willis.
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