Richard Donner, the director behind huge hits like Lethal Weapon, The Goonies and Superman, has died aged 91. His wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, did not disclose the cause of death.
Donner had an incredible career, directing one of the first significant superhero movies in Superman, starring Christopher Reeves and Marlon Brando, but made his feature film debut with The Omen, the classic, iconic horror movie, written by David Seltzer.
Donner is perhaps most famous for his work on the Lethal Weapon series, which helped create the template for the buddy cop movie. Lethal Weapon grossed $120 million on a $15 million budget and kickstarted one of the most memorable franchises in Hollywood history, perhaps peaking with the sequel, Lethal Weapon 2, released in 1989. It was the third most successful movie released that year behind Batman and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Donner also directed cult classic, The Goonies, launching the careers of stars like Sean Astin and Josh Brolin.
He was also an incredibly successful producer. Donner’s production company, The Donners’ Company, helped launch the X-Men franchise back in 2000.
“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,” said Stephen Spielberg, in a statement sent to Variety.
“Dick genuinely cared about me, my life and my family,” added Danny Glover, who was directed by Donner. “We were friends and loved each other far beyond collaborating for the screen and the success that the Lethal Weapon franchise brought us. I will so greatly miss him.”