The Academy Award winning director behind The Silence of the Lambs, Jonathan Demme, died today at the age of 73. A representative for the director said he passed away due to complications from esophageal cancer in his New York City apartment.
Other directorial credits include Something Wild, Married to the Mob, Philadelphia, Beloved, The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Rachel Getting Married, and more recently Ricki and the Flash in 2015.
Demme directed for television as well, including segments for a few installments of Saturday Night Live, the pilot of A Gifted Man, episodes of Enlightened and The Killing, and his most recent credit, an episode of FOX’s Shots Fired, which actually airs for the first time tonight.
He also did work directing music videos and documentaries, including Bruce Springsteen: The Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, and last year’s Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids.
Some of those Demme worked with released statements after learning of the director’s passing.
His Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster, who joined Demme as an Oscar winner for her work on the movie, said:
“I am heart-broken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him. Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy, the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative. Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul. JD, most beloved, something wild, brother of love, director of the lambs. Love that guy. Love him so much.”
Philadelphia star Tom Hanks, who also won an Oscar for his role, said:
“Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living. He was the grandest of men.”
Ricki and the Flash star Meryl Streep said:
“A big hearted, big tent, compassionate man in full embrace in his life of people in need “” and of the potential of art, music, poetry and film to fill that need. A big loss to the caring world.”
Finally, friend and fellow director Martin Scorsese said:
“Whenever I ran into Jonathan, he was filled with enthusiasm and excitement about a new project. He took so much joy in moviemaking. His pictures have an inner lyricism that just lifts them off the ground””even a story like The Silence of the Lambs. I have great admiration for Jonathan as a filmmaker””I love the freshness of his style and his excellent use of music, from Buddy Holly to Miklos Rozsa. There’s so much more to be said, and I hardly know where to begin. I also loved him as a friend, and to me he was always young. My young friend. The idea that he’s gone seems impossible to me.”