July 5, 2021

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Richard Donner, director of “Superman”, “Deadly Weapon” and “The Goonies” has died

Richard Donner director of Superman Deadly Weapon and The Goonies
Mel Gibson and Richard Donner in 1994 in Las Vegas (Photo: Getty Images)

Richard Donner, the prolific Hollywood director and producer whose credits include some of the most iconic films of the 1970s and 1980s, such as “Superman”, “The Goonies“And the police saga of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover,”Deadly weapon”, Passed away this Monday at the age of 91. The cause of his death has not been revealed. The news was confirmed by the director’s wife, the producer Lauren Schuler.

The renowned filmmaker, born in the Bronx, began his career directing for television, titles that include “Route 66″, “The Rifleman”, “The Twilight Zone”, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, “Gilligan’s Island”, “Perry Mason” y “The Wild Wild West”. After his debut feature, the 1968 crime comedy “Salt & Pepper”, starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford, Donner went into the movies full time with “The Profession” 1976.

Then he directed “Superman”From 1978, the film starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel along with Margot Kidder Y Gene Hackman. The blockbuster with a budget of approximately $ 55 million grossed more than USD 300 million worldwide.

For “Superman” (1978), producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind wanted to hire a name known as Robert Redford or Paul Newman, but Donner thought otherwise, saying he couldn’t “believe [a esos actores] in tights flying, ”he recalled in a 2006 interview. He wanted a stranger. Casting director Lynn Stalmaster was dazzled by Reeve and introduced him to the director. Donner said that “he knew instantly that Reeve could play the part. “

The director also confessed that he was outraged when he learned that Marlon brando it was going to take USD 3.7 million for 13 days of work. “It seemed to me that it wasn’t worth that much money,” Donner said. But then he admitted: “After working with him and seeing him in the movie, for me, it was poorly paid.”

Director Richard Donner, actors Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, actress Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve on the set of "Superman" and 1978 (Picture: Getty Images)
Director Richard Donner, actors Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, actress Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve on the set of “Superman” in 1978 (Photo: Getty Images)

Donner was hired to direct “Superman II,” but after fights with executive producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind and producer Pierre Spengler, he was fired and replaced by Richard Lester, even though he had already shot most of the scenes.

After his superhero phase, Donner was behind the scenes of the classic adventure film “Los Goonies”And the successful“Deadly weapon”. In 1988 he directed “The ghosts strike back”With Bill Murray. His last film work was “16 streets” with Bruce Willis.

The director directed four films in the popular franchise that grossed $ 955 million worldwide. “I had always wanted to make an action movie but it was always just free action with very little character,” he said in an interview. But when he read the script for the first “Lethal Weapon” (1987), he said, “Wow, this is really good; this Shane Black is a great writer. ” Donner brought Mel Gibson and Danny Glover together for a reading, “and the rest of my life changed for the next 10 years. “

Then he directed two more films starring Gibson: “Maverick” (1994) and “Conspiracy Theory (1997).

Danny Glover, Richard Donner y Mel Gibson (Foto de Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images)
Danny Glover, Richard Donner y Mel Gibson (Foto de Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images)

In addition to directing films, he was also a producer of feature films, such as the first movie “Deadpool”, “X-Men” or “Free Willy”. The world of comics and important TV series was also involved, especially in the decade of 1960 Y 1970.

To that must also add cult films such as Ladyhawke“Starring a young Michelle Pfeifer, and the remake of the television series Maverick (1994) with Gibson and Jodie Foster.

“Dick had such a powerful command of his films and was so gifted for so many genres Steven Spielberg said in a statement following the death of the director. “I can’t believe he’s gone, but his hearty, husky laugh will stay with me forever.”

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