Superman director Richard Donner, a hugely popular Hollywood director and producer credited with some of the most iconic movies of the 1970s and ’80s including the Christopher Reeve-starring Superman, The Goonies and the Mel Gibson-Danny Glover buddy cop series Lethal Weapon, has died. He was 91.
Donner passed away Monday, according to his wife, the producer Lauren Schuler Donner, and his business manager. No cause of death has been revealed.
Here are some of the reaction from his admirers
The Bronx-born Donner, a genial man with a booming voice, started his career directing for television. His TV credits include a laundry list of staple shows from the ’60s including Route 66, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason and The Wild Wild West. His debut feature X-15 in 1961 with Charles Bronson (and a young Mary Tyler Moore) was followed by the 1968 crime comedy Salt & Pepper starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford, and 1969’s Lola with Charles Bronson and Susan George. He segued to films full time with 1976’s spooky The Omen.
Earlier in his career Richard had a dispute with the producers famously resulted in Donner taking his name off directing Superman II when Richard Lester was brought in after Donner had shot the majority of the movie; a director’s cut of the film with many of the excised Donner-directed scenes.
Donner moved on to create blockbuster successes in just about every genre, directing Jackie Gleason and Richard Pryor in comedy The Toy (1982), and in 1985 helming both the medieval period adventure Ladyhawke and the seminal kids’ adventure pic The Goonies. That pic, about a group of friends hunt for treasure and come of age in in coastal Astoria, OR, had a script penned by Chris Columbus based on a story by Steven Spielberg.