There are many.
Rest in Peace, Richard Donner (8 GIFs)
There are many people I would describe as prolific, talented, or memorable in Hollywood, but few are truly legendary. The types of people whose work will long outlive them, the types of people who have not only authored work in one genre, but all of them with great success.
Richard Donner is one of those legends, and
he’s passed away at the age of 91. His wife, a legendary Hollywood producer in her own right, said he passed away Monday.
Where to even begin.
I’ll start with his television career, which spanned some of the most famous shows of the 1950s and 1960s, including
Route 66, The Rifleman, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason, The Wild Wild West, and countless more.
For me personally, his work on
The Twilight Zone is beyond legend. He directed six episodes for the show, including arguably the most famous episode of the entire series, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”
Donner would move between film and television into the late 1960s and early 1970s, but moved strictly into the world of film when he directed one of the most famous horror films of the decade, The Omen.
And just two years later, Donner brought Superman to life. The film was arguably one of the first true superhero blockbuster films made at its scale and changed comic book films forever. It set a standard of excellent casting, bleeding-edge (at the time) visual effects, and a sincerity that most modern films in the genre can only dream of touching.
His 1980s career was filled with mega-successes and cult films alike. Films like Ladyhawke were fantastic, it couldn’t touch the success of other projects like The Goonies, which both came out in the same year, 1985.
That’s all before he even started one of the most famous action franchises in Hollywood history with Lethal Weapon.
And because our audience (and my family) demand it, he also made the cult classic Bill Murray film Scrooged, which still stands as one of my all-time favorite Christmas films (and a film that’s become an annual viewing tradition all over the map).
This is only a short glimpse of Richard Donner’s career. There are tons of other films and TV shows you could cover in great depth, and I encourage anyone to seek out his work. He came from another time in filmmaking, and saw the entire industry shift and move, often because of films he made. He helped shape the modern world of filmmaking as we know it, laying foundations the industry is still building on to this day, and will continue to build on.
Rest in Peace, Richard Donner.
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