Visionary Director Jonathan Demme Dead at 73

It’s been reported from multiple sources that acclaimed director Jonathan Demme has died at the age of 73. His publicist, Leslee Dart confirmed that Demme died from complications from esophageal cancer in his Manhattan apartment Wednesday. 


Jonathan Demme had an eclectic career spanning decades and genres. He directed music videos, documentaries and television but his acclaim came from his body of work in film. He won the Best Director Academy Award for the thriller Silence of the Lambs. It was one of only three films to sweep the majority of the categories that year with wins for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Picture.

He also directed Philadelphia, one of the only mainstream films to tackle the subject of the AIDS crisis in America and it won Tom Hanks the Oscar for Best Actor that year. He also directed the critically acclaimed indie film Rachel Getting Married in 2008.

Demme would continue to direct both for the cinema, but also for television. As his health began to turn, he continued working. His last two works were the film Ricki and the Flash in 2015 and an episode of the police drama Shots Fired which will air on Fox this week with a message of dedication.

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