The iconic Hollywood director Richard Donner, responsible for the original 1978 Superman, Lethal Weapon and The Goonies, has passed away at the age of 91.
An influential voice in popular 1980s filmmaking, the director would be the first to bring Superman to the silver screen, kicking off the career of Christopher Reeve whilst making a name for one of pop culture’s most celebrated characters. He would also bring rag-tag childhood heroes The Goonies to the minds of the masses, an imaginative coming-of-age tale of adventure that would go on to inspire countless other films, none more so than Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Donner’s wife, the producer Lauren Schuler Donner, confirmed the news of his death, of which no cause has been confirmed.
Since the announcement of his passing, filmmakers, writers and fans have hurried to Twitter to pay their respects, including director Edgar Wright who wrote, “Richard Donner’s big heart and effervescent charm shone in his movies through the remarkable performances of his cast, which is no mean feat”.
Comic book writer Dan Slott also voiced his incredible opinion on Donner, noting, “Richard Donner’s Superman is the DNA, the fundamental building block, that all good superhero movies have been built from. It was the earnest leap of faith, the single bound, that made us all believe that a man could fly”.
In addition to these names, Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game director Mike Flanagan also writes how Donner influenced his interest in horror, tweeting, “Heartbroken to hear this. What an incredible talent, what a legacy of terrific work. His films made me want to make movies”.
Going on to produce major blockbusters across Hollywood, including Made Men, Any Given Sunday, and X-Men in 2000, Donner continued to work in the industry and at the end of 2020 had even signed on to direct Lethal Weapon 5, commenting: “This is the final one…It’s both my privilege and duty to put it to bed”.
He is survived by his wife Lauren Shuler Donner who had been married to Richard Donner since 1986. His legacy in cinema will forever be remembered.