Director Jonathan Demme Dies At Age 73

Rolling Stone reports:

Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of Philadelphia and The Silence of the Lambs and the filmmaker who revolutionized concert movies with his 1984 Talking Heads movie Stop Making Sense, died Wednesday morning from esophegal cancer. He was 73. “Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children,” Demme’s rep said in a statement.

“I am heartbroken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him,” Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster said in a statement. “Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy; the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative. Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul. JD, most beloved, something wild, brother of love, director of the lambs. Love that guy. Love him so much.”

  • Pollos Hermanos
    • Todd20036

      Yeah, but it didn’t exactly show the transgendered in a positive light.

      He does have a beautiful body, tho

      • Marti386

        Actually, the film is very clear that Buffalo Bill is not a trans person. And it’s a fantastic film. One of my all time favorites.

        Still doesn’t stop it from being thrown in my face as reasons why I “can’t be trusted in a restroom”, though.

    • B Snow

      I still have trouble believing that the guy who played Buffalo Bill is the same guy who played Monk’s slightly goofy police captain.

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Breaking: Suspended state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore announced Wednesday that he will run in this year’s special Senate election in Alabama, kicking off a high-profile primary fight with appointed Sen. Luther Strange.

  • Henry Auvil

    I was fortunate to make his acquaintance (through mutual friends) back in the early ’80s. Lovely guy with a quick and far-ranging mind. RIP.

  • Cuberly

    Only person on the planet that couldn’t stand Silence of the Lambs. But then I don’t care for that sort of psychological slasher stuff. But, Demme’s comedies were always awesome. Married to the Mob and The Ref stick out as being among my faves. He really had a knack for casting and getting some amazing performances.


    Joe posted my fave Married to the Mob clip, but I love this one from The Ref as well. Spacey chews the scenery …and pretty well spits it out.

    • Funbud

      You are not alone. I couldn’t stand “Silence of the Lambs”. But then, I am lukewarm about Jodie Foster (her very mannish Becky Thatcher in “Tom Sawyer” was a scarring experience back in 1973). And Anthony Hopkins is mostly an over-praised ham. But I liked “Philadelphia” and “Swing Shift” okay. Demme was a talented man.

      • Cuberly

        Oh wow, forgot about Swing Shift, I liked that as well.

      • Wayne

        I didn’t like “The Violence of the Hams” either, especially the ridiculous ending where Jodie, in a room where she can’t see anything, fires one shot & kills the villain. I also thought “Philadelphia” was overwhelmingly unconvincing. But I loved “Swing Shift”, “Something Wild,” & especially “Married to the Mob”!

    • MBear

      First time I saw Silence was with a bunch of fellow queens who knew all the words…and out of context, i thought the whole movie was hilarious. Things ya learn, eh?

    • sfbob

      I appreciated Silence of the Lambs as a piece of filmmaking. But I didn’t much enjoy it. Overall it seemed pretty creepy to me.

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  • Hue-Man
    • Garrett Sparks

      I love this song so much more than Streets of Philadelphia, which won the Oscar. This song is so haunting and fitting for this movie.

      • Hue-Man

        This video starts the sprinklers every time I watch it.

  • he did some very interesting stuff, as well as some dreck. RIP Mr. Demme.

  • Brooklyn Joe

    Now that’s sad – I loved his movies – Silence of the Lambs is amazing (with a great script and acting) – Married to the Mob – Rachels Getting Married – and of course Stop Making Sense.

  • Jeb

    He also shot this in 1985, when no other bands were making videos like this.

    • HZ81


  • HZ81

    I am so bummed. I loved Jonathan Demme. One of those very, very rare directors whose “failures” were worth a view because there was always something interesting going on visually and otherwise, even if it didn’t work overall. I am thinking Beloved and Manchurian Candidate for sure—flawed but compulsively viewable films.

    But his films that did work? Silence is so amazing on so many levels. I adore Married to the Mob (Mercedes Ruehl, above, and Dean Stockwell are fucking hysterical). Melvin & Howard if stunning. Fucking Stop Making Sense = the best concert film ever made, bar-none. Something WIld! Agh. Loved the guy.

    Even directed a couple episodes of The Killing, and those episodes stick out. Anyhoot, film nerd is sad. RIP, Jonathan.

  • TampaDink

    Fun fact: “Something Wild” which takes place in the northeast U.S. was filmed in Tallahassee back when we lived there.

  • MichaelJ

    My favorites are some of his less celebrated films: “Melvin and
    Howard,” “Swing Shift,” and “Rachel Getting Married.”

  • DoctorDJ

    “…died …from esophegal cancer.”

    What a shitty, painful way to go. Read Christopher Hitchens’ “Mortality.”
    My sympathies to his family.

  • greenmanTN

    I haven’t seen all his films but I love all those I have seen. Something Wild is a particular favorite. Ray Liotta’s performance is amazing as the psycho ex-boyfriend.

  • Derrick Johns

    Demme was/is an incredible talent. Sad to hear this news.