Monday, May 27, 2024

Shock: Beloved Oscar Winning Director Jonathan Demme Dead At Age 73


This is in the category of “not fair.” Jonathan Demme has died at age 73 from what seems to be esophageal cancer. Demme was among the loveliest people you could know or meet, a great gentleman, forever young in spirit, and a HUGE talent. He won the Oscar for “Silence of the Lambs,” but his credits go far beyond that movie. Demme moved easily back and forth between stunning narrative films and documentaries.

Demme combined those two talents in “Rachel Getting Married.” His other movies that will last and last are the Talking Heads documentary “Stop Making Sense,” two Neil Young films, and so many great features including “Something Wild” (really. please watch this movie), as well as “Philadelphia,” “Married to the Mob,” “Swing Shift,” the remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” with Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington, and “Rikki and the Flash” (an underpraised film).

And don’t forget the early, really brilliant films like “Melvin and Howard,” “Handle with Care,” and “Fighting Mad.”

He loved music, you can hear it and see it in all his films. He worked with the best musicians, from Neil Young to Chrissie Hynde, Bruce Springsteen, David Byrne, etc. All the best.

This is just a tremendous loss. Heartbreaking. Condolences to his family and friends. Jonathan’s legacy is so much love. I can’t think of a time when he wasn’t smiling a goofy grin. He was happy. And now we are very sad.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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