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Director Richard Donner, pioneer of action-adventure films, is dead. He was 91 years old. His death was confirmed by a spokesperson for Warner Bros. No cause has been revealed.
He is survived by his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner; they met while filming the 1985 movie Ladyhawke. Together they founded The Donners Company, whose credits include the X Men and Save Willy franchisees.
Giving has given generations of moviegoers something to love. Baby Boomers May Be Familiar With His Work Of Directing TV Episodes Of The Original Twilight Zone, the man of UNCLE and Gilligan Island. In 1978, he dazzled the public with Superman, starring Christopher Reeves as “Man of Steel”. Over the next decade, The Goonies, produced by Steven Spielberg, has become a big hit with children. The bro-cop action comedy Deadly weapon, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, was such a commercial success that Donner achieved three more. Just last year Donner said The daily telegraph this Lethal weapon 5 was on his way.
Donner’s films weren’t always popular with critics. “So the hollow head makes noise”, wrote The New York Times‘Vincent Canby from Donner’s feature debut The omen, with Gregory Peck and Lee Remnick. However, The omen was a huge commercial success that spawned several sequels.
In 2017, the Library of Congress added Donner’s Superman in the National Film Register. Michael Cavna, creator of the “Comic Riffs” section in The Washington Post, praised the selection – saying “Donner’s sense of story and Donner’s demand for great special effects, coupled with Reeve’s winning, sometimes comical charm, elevated the film.”
Donner has influenced generations of filmmakers, including his friend and mentee Steven Spielberg, who paid tribute on Twitter:
“Being in his circle was akin to spending time with your favorite trainer, the smartest teacher, the fiercest motivator, the most endearing friend, the most loyal ally and, of course, the greatest Goonie of all. “