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Richard Donner is confirmed dead at the age of 91.

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Richard was best known as a American film director (Superman).
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Richard Donner
Richard-Donner.png
Donner in 2006
Born
Richard Donald Schwartzberg

(1930-04-24)April 24, 1930
DiedJuly 5, 2021(2021-07-05) (aged 91)
OccupationFilm director, television director, film producer
Years active1957–present
Notable work
X-15
Salt and Pepper
Lola
The Omen
Superman
Inside Moves
The Toy
Ladyhawke
The Goonies
Lethal Weapon
Scrooged
Radio Flyer
Maverick
Assassins
Conspiracy Theory
Timeline
16 Blocks
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Spouse(s)
(m. 1985)
Awards
Richard Donner (born Richard Donald Schwartzberg, April 24, 1930–July 5, 2021) was an American director and producer of film and television and occasional comic-book writer. After directing the horror film The Omen (1976), Donner became famous for directing the first modern superhero film, Superman (1978), starring Christopher Reeve.
Donner later went on to direct movies such as The Goonies (1985) and Scrooged (1988), while reinvigorating the buddy film genre with the Lethal Weapon film series. He and his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, own the production company The Donners' Company (formerley Donner/Shuler Donner Productions), most well known for producing the Free Willy and X-Men franchises. In 2000, he received the President's Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Film historian Michael Barson writes that Donner is "one of Hollywood's most reliable makers of action blockbusters".
Contents
1 Early years
2 Television
3 Films
3.1 Superman (1978)
3.2 Post-Superman career
3.3 Lethal Weapon (1987–1998)
3.4 X-Men
4 Comic books
5 Book release
6 Death
7 Awards
8 Filmography
8.1 Film
8.2 Television
9 Bibliography
10 References
11 External links
Early years
Richard Donald Schwartzberg was born in the Bronx to Jewish parents, Hattie and Fred Schwartzberg. His father owned a small furniture manufacturing business. He has a sister, Joan.
Television
Donner started his career with hopes of acting. He got a bit part in a TV show directed by Martin Ritt, who encouraged Donner to become a director instead. Ritt hired Donner as his assistant. Later, Donner got a job at Desilu, where he directed commercials. He transitioned into television dramas in the late 1950s, directing some episodes of the Steve McQueen western serial Wanted: Dead or Alive and the Chuck Connors western The Rifleman. In his early career as a director he worked on over twenty-five television series including Have Gun Will Travel, The Fugitive, Combat!, Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, Gilligan's Island, Kojak, Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone (most notably the famous "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" starring William Shatner and "From Agnes—With Love" starring Wally Cox), as well as the serial Danger Island from the children's program The Banana Splits.
Films
Donner directed his first feature film in 1961, X-15, which starred Charles Bronson and Mary Tyler Moore. It was not until seven years later, however, that he directed his next film Salt and Pepper (1968), with Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford. His break-through film was The Omen (1976). A supernatural horror made in the wake of the success obtained by The Exorcist, the film stars Gregory Peck, David Warner and Lee Remick. It became the fifth highest-grossing movie of 1976.
Superman (1978)
In 1978, Donner directed Superman: The Movie, starring Christopher Reeve in the title role. The film became a hit worldwide, projecting both Reeve and Donner to international fame.
Co-stars included Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman as archvillain Lex Luthor. It succeeded at the box office, grossing $134 million domestically.
Principal photography of Superman included filming of its first sequel, Superman II. Donner filmed most of Superman II with the expectation he would complete the sequel after the release of Superman. Despite the first film's success, Donner was fired from Superman II. Throughout the filming of Superman and Superman II, Donner had a difficult relationship with executive producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind and producer Pierre Spengler. The Salkinds refused Donner's demand that Spengler be fired; instead, the Salkinds replaced Donner as director of Superman II with Richard Lester, who had worked with the Salkinds on The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers and as an uncredited producer on Superman. Following Donner's dismissal, Marlon Brando's scenes were removed from Superman II and much of the film was re-shot under Lester's direction. Gene Hackman refused to return for re-shoots; consequently, all the Lex Luthor scenes that appear in Superman II were filmed by Donner, although Donner received no onscreen credit for directing, because Donner refused to be on the credits.
Rotten Tomatoes' summary states that "Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor". Donner continued to promote the view his contribution was superior to rest of the series. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was released on November 28, 2006, the same date as the DVD release of the summer film Superman Returns. This version of the film features the re-insertion of Marlon Brando's scenes as Jor-El, and relies on a minimum of footage shot by Richard Lester.
Post-Superman career
Donner has mixed commercial flops (Inside Moves, Radio Flyer) and successes (The Goonies, the Lethal Weapon series, Scrooged and Conspiracy Theory). In the case of Superman, it was Donner who insisted the subject of the comic book superhero should be treated "straight," as in portrayed with respect to the fantasy genre's particular conventions and tone, rather than "camp", an approach that strongly influenced later genre directors such as Tim Burton (Batman, Batman Returns), Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises), and Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zack Snyder's Justice League), who have made successful superhero films of their own.
Lethal Weapon (1987–1998)
Donner's next blockbuster film was the action comedy Lethal Weapon, written by Shane Black. It starred Mel Gibson as a widowed narcotics detective with a suicidal bent "who breaks every rule for the sheer joy of it." It co-starred Danny Glover as a calm homicide detective with a loving family and consideration for retirement. The film's action sequences were considered "truly spectacular" and made the film one of the year's biggest hits.
Donner directed six films starring Mel Gibson overall, creating a Lethal Weapon franchise with three sequels, and the last one was Lethal Weapon 4, released in 1998. In an interview in 2000, Gibson described his impressions of Donner:"Uncle Dick. He’s a great guy, just terrific. Extremely professional. He’s an old veteran and has an understanding of film that is the culmination of years of experience. He’s got his technical stuff down, his vision down. No matter what you say about Dick, it underrates him. He really loves what he’s doing, loves working with actors, and he allows you freedom to explore all kinds of areas. 'All right, kid,' he’ll say, and slap you on the back and let you try something, because even he doesn’t know sometimes. He’s just an extremely charming, talented, great fuckin’ guy. I love him."
Richard Donner's cousin is actor Steve Kahan, who played a policeman tracking Otis in Superman: The Movie, and played Captain Ed Murphy in the Lethal Weapon movie franchise. Donner has cast Kahan in some of his other films too.
X-Men
He became the executive producer for the 2000 Marvel Comics film X-Men, then also an executive producer for the 2009 X-Men prequel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In addition, Donner's wife has produced all of the films in the X-Men film series under their Donners' Company brand.
On October 16, 2008, Donner and Lauren Shuler Donner received stars in a double ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their achievements in motion pictures, located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Comic books
One of Donner's assistants in the late 1990s was comic book writer Geoff Johns. In October 2006, Donner, Johns and artist Adam Kubert became the new creative team on Action Comics, the publisher's most time honored publication and one of DC Comics' two main Superman titles. Together, Johns and Donner collaborated on the stories Last Son and Escape from Bizarro World, both of which have been released in collected book form. Donner and Johns also co-wrote a story for Action Comics #1000, released in April 2018.
Book release
On November 10, 2010, Donner's authorized biography You're the Director... You Figure It Out: The Life and Films of Richard Donner by James Christie was published by BearManor Media. The book features a foreword by actor Mel Gibson.
Script Magazine described the book as an "engaging portrait of a warm-hearted (if occasionally gruff) man who can justly be considered the modern equivalent of Victor Fleming and Michael Curtiz – a highly talented, professional director of motion pictures who has thrived in the studio system and made some pretty good pictures to boot."
The Directors Guild of America called the book "a compelling study of an ebullient, ballsy risk-taker who was a director even before he was aware of it" that "ably captures Donner's joy in doing a job he loves."
Death
Donner died on July 5, 2021 at the age of 91.
Awards
Year
Association
Category
Work
Result
1979
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films
Best Director
Superman
Nominated
World Science Fiction Society
Best Dramatic Presentation
Won
1986
Ladyhawke
Nominated
1993
National Cable Television Association
Best Dramatic Series
Tales from the Crypt
Nominated
1994
Nominated
1995
Nominated
1997
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
Outstanding Game Show
Secrets of the Cryptkeeper's Haunted House
Nominated
2000
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films
President's Award
N/A
Won
Hollywood Film Awards
Outstanding Achievement in Directing
N/A
Won
2002
Director's View Film Festival
Joseph L. Mankiewicz Excellence in Filmmaking Award
N/A
Won
2006
International Press Academy
Nikola Tesla Satellite Award
N/A
Won
2007
Casting Society of America
Career Achievement Award
N/A
Won
2008
Ojai Film Festival
Lifetime Achievement Award
N/A
Won
2009
American Cinema Editors
Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award
N/A
Won
Filmography
Film
Year
Title
Director
Producer
Richard Donner
Richard
Richard Donner Richard Donner
Richard Donner Richard Donner Richard Donner
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