The film director Jonathan Demme, best known for his film “The Silence of the Lambs” passed away on April 26th at the age of 73, from cancer complications.
The acclaimed director is survived by his wife and children. His acclaimed work includes thrillers, comedies, and documentaries.
Jonathan Demme passed away at his Manhattan apartment
Jonathan Demme passed away at the age of 73 years, Wednesday morning in his Manhattan apartment. He was surrounded by his wife, artist Joanne Howard, and three children.
According to reports, the director died from esophageal cancer along with heart disease. His publicist confirmed the sad news, he stated.
“Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children.”
He then explained the cause of death, “He died from complications from esophageal cancer and is survived by his children Ramona, age 29, and her husband James Molloy, Brooklyn, age 26, and Jos, age 21.There will be a private family funeral. Any possible further plans will be announced later”
Finally, he confirmed the humanitarian character of late Demme with a request, “In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Americans for Immigrant Justice in Miami, FL.”
In remembrance of Demme.
The Long Island, N.Y native, spent much of the 1960s living in London and working as a music writer. He burst into Hollywood in the 1970s by writing press releses and screenplays for B-movie producer Roger Corman.
He gained his first directiorial credit on the prison flick Caged Heart in 1974. This work was followed by two other films for Corman which led him to finfing his own place in the indie cinema scene in the 1980s, which was officialized with his movie Melvin and Howard.
Later in the 1980s he stood out with Something Wild, which gave Melanie Griffith one of her early succesful roles.Then he had his greatest success terrifyng audiences with The Silence of the Lamb, which constitued his highest point of his career as a mainstream film maker.
The horror thriller adaptation from Thomas Harris’ novel won five Academy Awards, including Best Director for Demme. He later stated about the film, “was a great delirious shock to everybody concerned” as Demme later stated.
The movie also made of its central character, Hannibal Lecter, into a household name. Demme turned out the offer to direct the sequel “Hannibal.”Instead, he concentrated on films that reflected his own politically liberals credentials with Philadelphia. The movie brought gay-rights into the discussion as well as AIDS and gay characters into the mainstream.
Philadelphia was starred Tom Hanks in an Academy Award winning performance. He also releasd an adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a seminal novel about slavery.
Demme ‘s mainstream work took a dip in the 2000s, after a couple of poorly received movies including, remake of Charade, The Truth About Charlie and a new version of The Manchurian Candidate.But he restored his reputation with comedy, Rachel Getting Married, starring Anne Hathaway in 2007. And the rocker film/family drama Ricki and the Flash, starring Meryl Streep in 2015.
Thourgout his carrer he also worked reflecting on political and social issues. Including his two documentaries about Haiti, 1988’s “Haiti Dreams of Democracy” and 2003’s critically acclaimed “The Agronomist.” As well as profiling likes of Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela.
He also focused on musicians and the music world with works suchas as Stop Making Sense. The documentary follows The Talking Heads and guests in a full concert and gathering, showins us a bunch of brilliant individuals.
Heart of Gold in 2006, portraying Neil Young and he he filmed Spalding Gray’s celebrated one-man show Swimming to Cambodia in 1987.His most recent project was a Justin Timberlake concert film called Justin Timberlake and the Tenesesse Kids. Which premiered in September at the Toronoto Film Festival.
Most recently, late Demme directed an episode of the Fox police drama Shots Fired which was aired on Wednesday. He also completed a short film of three decades of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, which will debut on July 1.
Saying goodbye to a great human being
As soon as the sad news were learned, friends and former co-workers shared candid words celebrating his life and work.
Roger Corman said, “I’ve come to believe, and I kind of felt this when we did Stop Making Sense, that shooting live music is kind of like the purest form of film-making.”
Tom Hanks also said, “Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living. He was the grandest of men,”
Meryl Streep said in a statement, “A big hearted, big tent, compassionate man — in full embrace in his life of people in need and of the potential of art, music, poetry and film to fill that need. (It’s) a big loss to the caring world,”
Fellow director, Martin Scorsese said, “He took so much joy in moviemaking. His pictures have an inner lyricism that just lifts them off the ground. I love the freshness of his style and his excellent use of music, from Buddy Holly to Miklós Rózsa. … To me, he was always young. My young friend. The idea that he’s gone seems impossible to me.”
Very sad to hear of the passing of the great Jonathan Demme. Admired his movies, his documentaries, his concert films. He could do anything.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) April 26, 2017
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) April 26, 2017
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 26, 2017
Farewell, bard…Jonathan Demme, the last of the great journeyman directors – The Washington Post https://t.co/aemX7Xm4lU
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 27, 2017
Deeply sad to hear my friend, neighbor, and colleague Jonathan Demme has passed on. He was one of the real good guys. I miss you, buddy.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 26, 2017
I only worked with him once – he was just like his films: brilliant, curious & original. RIP Jonathan Demme – a truly great filmmaker. pic.twitter.com/eoHwxffZL3
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) April 26, 2017
Sad to hear that Jonathan Demme has passed.
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) April 26, 2017
Jonathan Demme was a great artist, humanitarian, activist & a warm encouraging colleague. I've known very few like him. He will be missed https://t.co/wQv5QRqHoN
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 26, 2017
Happier times. I will always love you Jonathan Demme. pic.twitter.com/grZRknHClb
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) April 26, 2017