If you could compare any film director to the industry's equivalent of Superman, it might be Richard Donner. In his late 40's, he directed the first titular movie of the superhero franchise in 1978. Donner later flew into other genres and created megahits like The Goonies and Lethal Weapon.
The incredibly influential and groundbreaking director Richard Donner passed away on Monday according to his wife and his production company. He was 91 years old. No cause of death was revealed.
Donner was 48 years old when he introduced Superman to the world, beginning a multi-billion dollar franchise that exists today, revolutionizing the industry's use of special effects which allowed Christopher Reeve to fly around the world. In addition to this, Donner pioneered the storyline structure of movies seen today such as Captain America, Batman, Spiderman, and more.
After the massive success of Superman, Donner became one of the hottest directors in town, so much so, producer Steven Speilberg tracked him down to direct The Goonies. While Speilberg was busy creating Indiana Jones, Donner helped define the young adult adventure genre with the legendary pop culture flick.
In a statement on Monday, Mr. Spielberg said: "Dick had such a powerful command of his movies, and was so gifted across so many genres. Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and — of course — the greatest Goonie of all. He was all kid. All heart. All the time."
Donner then directed buddy cop-action drama Lethal Weapon which put star Danny Glover on the map and turned Mel Gibson into a pop culture icon. With this film, Donner once again started a multi-billion dollar franchise and directed four more Lethal Weapon films after the original movie.
A-list directors and actors gathered on social media to honor the late legend.
I couldn't agree more with the tributes pouring in honoring the great Richard Donner. I was so lucky to have worked with him in his final movie for television #SarahT alongside @RealLindaBlair. His next project was #TheOmen-the rest is history! #RIP_Dick https://t.co/5E3w4milYP— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 6, 2021
Good bye dear Richard. Thanks for your films, for your elegance, your sense of humor, your friendship and for those happy and funny days we spent during the shooting of “Assassins”. We will never forget you amigo.— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) July 6, 2021
RIP #RichardDonner pic.twitter.com/VumJPZkLe3
Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine.— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) July 5, 2021
He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12 year old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared.
- Goonies Never Say Die
Our thoughts and prayers are with Donner's friends and family during this time. May he rest in peace.