Jonathan Demme, 'Silence of the Lambs' director, dies at 73

Jonathan Demme, 'Silence of the Lambs' director, dies at 73
Posted at 11:31 AM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-07 17:15:43-04

(RNN) - Jonathan Demme, an Oscar-winning director, producer and screenwriter has died. He died from complications of esophageal cancer and heart disease, the family told Indiewire.

He was a prolific artist, but is best remembered for his hit film "Silence of the Lambs," for which he won the 1992 Best Director Oscar. He also helmed "Philadelphia," the film that gave Tom Hanks his first Oscar as Best Actor.

He was born Feb. 22, 1944 in Long Island, NY, as Robert Jonathan Demme. He made his screenplay debut with the 1971 movie "Angels as Hard as they Come," which starred Scott Glenn and Gary Busey.

The first film he directed was 1974's "Caged Heat," a classic B-movie about women in prison.

He was one of the most commercially successful directors of the 1980s with "Melvin and Howard" (1980), "Swing Shift" (1984), "Something Wild" (1986) and "Married to the Mob" (1988). 

His critically hailed documentary 1984 music "Stop Making Sense" about the Talking Heads is considered a seminal concert film, shot over three nights in Los Angeles, and featuring digital recording technology.

The filmmaker is survived by three children and his wife Joanne Howard. His family was with him when he died Wednesday morning at 3:30 in his Manhattan apartment, according to Dateline Hollywood.

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