Today, the world received the unfortunate news that Oscar-winning film director Jonathan Demme has passed away at the age of 73. Demme’s wife, Joanne Howard, confirmed his passing to IndieWire this morning. The director’s rep also issued a statement: “Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife…and three children,” Demme’s rep said in a statement.
Demme enjoyed an extremely successful and thematically diverse directorial career. After cutting his teeth as a writer and director for Roger Corman in the early 70’s, he had his first big break with Melvin and Howard, a 1980 drama focusing on a fortuitous encounter between a gas station attendant and wealthy hermit Howard Hughes.
Demme’s specialty lied in good-hearted narrative material and live performance pieces, like Talking Heads 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense (shot over three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in late 1983), which is widely considered one of the greatest concert films ever made. However, Demme accrued the majority of his mainstream notoriety through notedly darker pieces, particularly 1991 serial killer blockbuster Silence of the Lambs (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director) and his follow-up, 1993’s HIV/AIDS-centered drama Philadelphia which won Oscars for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Original Song (“Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen).
In honor of the late director, you can watch Stop Making Sense below, courtesy of YouTube user Marco Frixione:
[h/t – Rolling Stone]