It’s a sad day for the geek community and film industry, as prolific director-producer Richard Donner, whose most iconic works include the original Superman film, The Goonies, and buddy cop series Lethal Weapon, has passed on. He was 91.
The man died on 6 July (GMT+8), film producer and Donner’s wife Lauren Schuler Donner told Deadline, though the cause was not disclosed.
Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story for The Goonies, told Variety in a statement that Donner was “gifted across so many genres.”
“Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favourite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and – of course – the greatest Goonie of all,” he expressed. “He was all kid. All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his husky, hearty laugh will stay with me always.”
Actor Danny Glover, who worked with the man on 1987’s Lethal Weapon, said in a statement, “My heart is broken. Working with Dick Donner, Mel Gibson and the Lethal Weapon team was one of the proudest moments of my career. I will forever be grateful to him for that.”
Born in Broux, Donner first started in television in the 1960s, with a credits slate spanning well-known titles such as The Twilight Zone and The Man From UNCLE. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that he made his mark in Hollywood, however – his work on 1978’s Superman starring Christopher Reeve is largely considered to be the first modern superhero movie.
The man later went on to direct cult hit Ladyhawke and The Goonies in 1985, before picking up Lethal Weapon and its sequels from 1987 to 1998, which placed him among the Hollywood directors who generated more than a billion dollars in box office returns.
In light of Donner’s passing, many have taken to social media to pay tribute and highlight the director’s influence in the film world.
Donner is survived by his wife, with whom he founded The Donners’ Company in 1986. The pair would later go on to produce the highly-popular X-Men in 2000 and the X-Men Origins: Wolverine prequel under the name.
Rest in peace, good sir.