Jonathan Demme 1944-2017


We’ve got some unexpected and sad news this week: legendary director Jonathan Demme reportedly passed away this morning in New York. He had been treated for esophageal cancer back in 2010 and suffered from a recurrence in 2015, but it was a combination of the cancer and complications from heart disease that ultimately led to his death, according to a source close to the family. He is best known for directing the iconic thriller The Silence of the Lambs but also directed one of the greatest concert films of all time with Stop Making Sense and was responsible for several other noteworthy films over the years. He was 73 years old.

Jonathan Demme got his start like so many other filmmakers by working for Roger Corman in the early ’70s. His first three films were exploitation flicks for New World Pictures: Fighting Mad, Crazy Mama and Caged Heat. Throughout the ’80s he built up acclaim with films like Melvin and Howard, Something Wild and Married to the Mob before winning an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs in 1991. He followed that up with the AIDS-themed drama Philadelphia, which won Tom Hanks an Academy Award for Best Actor.

In the 2000s he directed a remake of The Manchurian Candidate starring Denzel Washington and received much praise for Rachel Getting Married starring Anne Hathaway. He also dabbled in television with shows like The Killing and Enlightened. Most recently he directed another concert film, Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids. What are your favourite Jonathan Demme films?

Around the Web:

  • Peter Harrison

    I’m a huge fan of Spalding Grey’s Swimming to Cambodia, a one-man stage show filmed by Demme.

  • devolutionary

    So glad that our local theatre decided to re-air Stop Making Sense last year. Also liked the Agronomist and Neil Young: Heart of Gold docs when they came out; forgot he directed them.

  • Stinker

    STOP MAKING SENSE…….this is his best. Should be mentioned…

  • Beat_C

    I’ve been wanting to see SMS for ages. thanks for reminding me – now’s the time.