Richard Donner, the esteemed director behind pop culture classics like Superman and The Goonies, has sadly passed away at the age of 91. He led a long career in film, leaving a significant impact on the world of science fiction and superheroes.
Born in The Bronx in 1930, Donner began his career in the 1960s. Working on shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Gilligan’s Island and The Twilight Zone, to name but a few.
Donner’s superhero legacy
Donner is perhaps most recognised for his work in directing the original Superman film in 1978, Starring Christopher Reeve as the titular protagonist, Superman changed the way that the world perceived superhero movies.
Where the likes of the Adam West Batman TV series had solidified the genre firmly as camp fun for the family, Donner shifted perspectives to introduce more formal methods of storytelling.
The impact has been felt in almost all modern-day superhero movies to have been released since. It’s safe to say that we wouldn’t have had Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, nor much of the MCU without Donner’s work in the 70s.
Donner held a strong relationship with comic books throughout his post-Superman career. He served as executive producer for the 2000 X-Men movie, and again for X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. His wife, Lauren Shuler Donner, was also a custodian of the X-Men movies, producing all of the Fox X-Men films under the Donner company brand.
Donner even collaborated with other writers to help write Superman comics for DC, including the Last Son arc.
It wasn’t just the world of superhero films that Donner was known for though. He also directed iconic films such as The Goonies, Lethal Weapon 1-4 and the horror classic The Omen.
Hollywood pays tribute
Tributes to Donner are pouring in from all around Hollywood. Zack Snyder, director of the Man of Steel Superman reboot and the recent Justice League movie, thanked Donner for his work in the industry. “You made me believe”, he wrote on Twitter.
Thank you, Richard Donner. You made me believe. pic.twitter.com/zmeONQpTUT
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) July 5, 2021
Warner Bros. also posted a tribute to the director, saying: “Thank you for helping us all believe a man can fly.”
Rest in peace to legendary Director, Richard Donner. Thank you for helping us all believe a man can fly. pic.twitter.com/M1uQJJLOG5
— Warner Bros. (@WBHomeEnt) July 5, 2021
Antonio Banderas, star of The Mask of Zorro and Desperado, writes: “Good bye dear Richard. Thanks for your films, for your elegance, your sense of humor, your friendship and for those happy and funny days we spent during the shooting of “Assassins”. We will never forget you amigo.”
Good bye dear Richard. Thanks for your films, for your elegance, your sense of humor, your friendship and for those happy and funny days we spent during the shooting of “Assassins”. We will never forget you amigo.
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) July 6, 2021
Our condolences go out to Richard Donner’s family at this time. His cinematic legacy will truly live on for years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros