Richard Donner, the producer and director of films such as The Goonies and Superman has passed away aged 91.
The news was confirmed by Donner’s production company, with a cause of death of yet to be confirmed.
He is also known for directing the Lethal Weapon film series, as well as the horror film The Omen from 1976 and the Christmas Comedy Scrooged from 1998.
Donner could “leap movie genres with a single bound”
Donner was praised by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for having the ability to “leap movie genres with a single bound”. The academy also said in 2017 that Donner “carved his own path in Hollywood since he burst out of the television scene for a career spanning over five decades”.
A native of the Bronx, he began his career in televison and saw success when he directed The Omen. The Omen was a British collaboration which starred Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn, the father of a child who turns out to be an antichrist.
Following on from The Omen, Donner then unveiled Superman, which starred Christopher Reeve as the titled superhero, while Gene Hackman portrayed Lex Luthor. The film also featured Marlon Brando who played Jor-El. Superman was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Sound and Best Film Editing.
Then came the Goonies in 1985. Donner directed and co-produced the film with Harvey Bernhard. This adventure comedy explored a group of young children hunting for hidden treasure. The film earned a strong following and became a cult classic.
Donner combined producing and directing duties with various projects for the rest of his career. His last credit as a movie director was the 2006 thriller “16 Blocks”. This featured Bruce Willis, David Morse and rapper Mos Def.
“My friend, my mentor”
Between 1987 and 1998, Donner also directed and produced four installments for the classic Lethal Weapon. One of the stars, Mel Gibson led the tributes to Richard Donner.
“Donner! My friend, my mentor”, Gibson said in a statement. “Oh, the things I learned from him! … He left his ego at the door and required that of others. He was magnanimous of heart and soul, which he liberally gave to all who knew him”.
“Richard Donner’s big heart and effervescent charm shone in his movies through the remarkable performances of his cast, which is no mean feat”, tweeted director Edgar Wright.
“You remember all the characters in Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Goonies & more, because Donner knew how to capture that magic onscreen”, he added.