JONATHAN Demme, the Oscar-winning
director of The Silence of the Lambs, has died in
New York at the age of 73.
His publicist confirmed he died from
complications from oesophageal cancer.
Born in 1944, Demme’s other features
included Philadelphia, Something Wild and
the Talking Heads documentary Stop Making
Sense.
Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for his
performance in Philadelphia, told the Press
Association, Demme was “the grandest of men.”
He said: “Jonathan taught us how big a heart
a person can have, how it will guide us,how we
live and what we do for a living.”
Demme’s own Oscar was for best director for
The Silence of the Lambs in 1992.
The second film to feature serial killer
Hannibal Lecter, it is one of only three films to
win the so-called “big five” Oscars.
As well as best director, the 1991 film was
named best picture, won a screenplay prize and
saw both of its lead actors honoured.
Demme also steered Mary Steenburgen to a
best supporting actress Oscar for his 1980 film
Melvin and Howard.
In recent years he worked with Anne
Hathaway on Rachel Getting Married and
directed Meryl Streep in both Ricki and the
Flash and his 2004 remake of The Manchurian
Candidate.
His most recent film, Justin Timberlake + the
Tennessee Kids, showed Timberlake in concert
in 2015.
Tributes flowed in from the film world:
British actress Thandie Newton, who worked
with him on Beloved and The Truth About
Charlie, said she was “deeply saddened” by his
passing.
Fellow film-maker Barry Jenkins, who
directed the Oscar-winning Moonlight, wrote:
“Met tons through the Moonlight run but my
man Demme was the kindest, most generous.
A massive soul. He lived in love. And rests in
peace.”
Director Jim Jarmusch wrote: “Inspiring
filmmaker, musical explorer, ornithologist (!),
and truly wonderful and generous person.”
Author Stephen King tweeted: “Deeply sad
to hear my friend, neighbor, and colleague
Jonathan Demme has passed on. He was one of
the real good guys. I miss you, buddy.”
Elijah Wood, star of the Lord of the Rings
films, tweeted that he was “sad to hear” of the
director’s death.
Edgar Wright, the British director of Hot
Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, said: “Admired his
movies, his documentaries, his concert films.
He could do anything.”

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