Richard Donner Dies at the Age of 91

Richard Donner, the veteran filmmaker well-known for his blockbuster films ‘Superman”, “The Goonies”, and “Lethal Weapon” has passed away at the age of 91. He left us on Monday. His wife, Lauren Schuler Donner did not reveal the cause of the death though. 

Richard Donner’s real name was Richard Donald Schwartzberg. He was born on 24th April 1930 in the city of New York to Russian Jewish parents, Hattie and Fred Schwartzberg. Richard’s father had a small furniture manufacturing business and his mother was a homemaker. Richard also had a sister named Joan. 

In the beginning, Richard aspired to be an actor but later realized his nag for directing. Some of his early direction works included some television show episodes, namely, “The Rifleman”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Perry Mason”, “Gilligan’s Island”, etc. Richard’s featured directional debut was the film “X-15” which was released in the year 1961. But, the horror movie “The Omen” released in 1976 after 15 years gave Richard Donner his biggest breakthrough. The film was a major box office hit and starring actors like Gregory Peck, David Warner, and Lee Remick.

Richards also had a nomination for two Oscars for this film but backed one. But he was more praised when he directed “Superman” in the year 1978 that starred Christopher Reeve as Superman along with other actors like Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, and Gene Hackman. The budget of this film was USD 55 million and the Warner Bros blockbuster earned more than USD 300 million on the global box office. The movie “Superman” also got a nomination for 3 Academy Awards for the visual effects using in the film.

Prominent Hollywood celebs like Spielberg Gibson, Sean Astin paid their tribute to Richard on his death. Spielberg also praised Richard saying that he was too talented in many genres. He had an excellent command over his movies. Spielberg also praised Richard with words like the smartest professor, best coach, loyal ally, and an endearing friend. Spielberg further said that Richard was always a child by heart. Though he is gone Richard Donner will stay with him in his heart forever.  

Gibson said that Richard did not have any ego he always undercut his talent with humility and referred to himself as a mere traffic cop. There is no way in which Richard’s good deeds can measure. Gibson will miss all of Richard’s mischief and wisdom.

Astin tweeted that Richard Donner had the boomiest voice one could ever imagine. He used to grab others’ attention with his hearty laugh. He further said in his tweet that Richard was like a 12-year-old kid.

Filmmaker Edgar Wright said people remembered their favorite characters like Superman. Goonies only because of Richard’s talent as he knew the way to capture such magic onscreen. Though Wright met Richard only once he says he was a funny and charming man. He expressed his sadness for not being able to meet him anymore. 

Richard and his wife Lauren Shuler Donner owned a production company known for blockbuster hits like “X-Men” and X-Men origins: Wolverine.