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R.I.P.: The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme has passed away

Jonathan Demme

Filmmaker Jonathan Demme was not a frequent contributor to the horror genre, in fact the only horror feature he directed was THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. But what a contribution that was. Demme took the Thomas Harris source material about a cannibal doctor playing mind games with an FBI agent while she tracks down an Ed Gein-esque serial killer and turned it into a film that received multiple Academy Award nominations. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS won Oscars in several categories - Ted Tally won for writing the screenplay, lead actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins won for their performances, Demme won Best Director, and the film won Best Picture.

Demme got his start working for legendary producer Roger Corman, working on films like ANGELS HARD AS THEY COME and BLACK MAMA WHITE MAMA, making his directorial debut with the 1974 "women in prison" movie CAGED HEAT. He went on to earn directing credits on more than sixty other titles, his films including CRAZY MAMA, FIGHTING MAD, MELVIN AND HOWARD, SWING SHIFT, SOMETHING WILD, MARRIED TO THE MOB, PHILADELPHIA (for which Tom Hanks won an Oscar), remakes of the films CHARADE and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, and RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. His most recent was the Diablo Cody-scripted RICKI AND THE FLASH, starring Meryl Streep. Between narrative features, he also directed documentaries and concert films, working with bands and musicians like Talking Heads, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Justin Timberlake.

Sadly, Demme passed away in New York this morning at the age of 73. The filmmaker had been battling esophageal cancer, a disease he had been treated for in 2010 but which returned in 2015. Complications from heart disease also contributed to his death.

Demme leaves behind an amazing career that will continue to be enjoyed and appreciated by viewers for a long time to come. He is survived by his wife and their three children. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, his friends, and his fans.

Jonathan Demme

Extra Tidbit: What is your favorite Demme film?
Source: IndieWire

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