Jonathan Demme, Academy Award-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs, died Wednesday in New York from complications caused by esopohageal cancer.
Demme, who was 73 years old, experienced unprecedented success with the 1991 horror-thriller starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Jodi Foster as Clarice Starling. The Silence of the Lambs became only the third film in history to win Oscars in all of the top five categories—best picture, actor, actress, director, and adapted screenplay.
Demme is also known for directing Swing Shift with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Something Wild with Melanie Griffith and Ray Liotta, Married to the Mob with Michelle Pfeiffer, Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway and, recently, Ricki and the Flash with Meryl Streep.
After his work on The Silence of the Lambs, Demme made Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks, one of the first major studio films to address the AIDs crisis.
Demme created a portfolio of documentaries about subjects such as the Talking Heads, the Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young. He also addressed politics and social issues with profiles of Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela.
An episode of the Fox police drama, Shots Fired, was Demme’s most recent work. The episode is scheduled to air on April 26—the same day the director’s death was announced.
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