Film Director Jonathan Demme Dies

Award winning director Jonathan Demme die April 26 in his Manhattan home at the age of 73 as a result of complications from cancer.


Along with his film work, Demme is known for his directorial expertise on music and concert videos where he has worked with the Talking Heads, UB40, Chrissie Hynde, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen,Kenny Chesney, and Justin Timberlake.

As a film director he is best known for his award winning work on “Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia” but has worked on dozens of films including his 1974 debut with “Caged Heat”, “Handle with Care”, “Melvin and Howard”, “Swing Shift”, “Married to the Mob”, “Cousin Bobby”, “Storefront Hitchcock”, “The Manchurian Candidate”, and “Ricki and the Flash”.

Demme also directed some television episodes including “Columbo”, “American Playhouse”, “Saturday Night Live, an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, and “Shots Fired”.

As a producer, he worked over 40 productions including “The Hot Box”, “Miami Blues”, “Amos & Andrew”, “Devil in a Blue Dress”, “That Thing You Do”, “Mandela”, “Jimmy Carter Man From Plains”, three Neil Young programs, and six episodes of “A Gifted Man”.

Demme even appeared as an actor in a handful of productions – “The Incredible Melting Man”, an uncredited role in “Last Embrace”, “Into the Night”, “Married to the Mob”, “That Thing You Do”, “Scene by Scene”, and “Oz”.

He was born Robert Jonathan Demme on February 22, 1944 on Long Island. The family moved to Miami when he was in high school. Wanting to be a veterinarian, Demme attended the University of Florida but when he discovered that the University newspaper did not have a movies critic…a new world was opened to Demme.

Predeceased by his mother Dorothy who first appeared in one if her sons productions at 71, Demme is survived by his second wife Joanne and children Brooklyn, Ramona, and Josephine.

photo courtesy of By Dan D’Errico / Montclair Film Festival –, CC BY 2.0,

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