Silence Of The Lambs Director Jonathan Demme Is Dead At 73

Jonathan Demme

It's another sad day in Hollywood as one of the most accomplished film directors that we had has passed away. The mind behind Oscar winner The Silence of the Lambs, Jonathan Demme, has died at the age of 73. The cause of death is being attributed to a combination of esophageal cancer and heart disease.

Jonathan Demme began directing films in 1974 with Caged Heat with famed B-movie producer Roger Corman and worked continuously until just before his death. His last feature films were 2015's Rikki and the Flash starring Meryl Streep, and the concert documentary Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids last year, but Demme also worked on a TV project that was released as recently as this year. Other popular films Demme directed include the Tom Hanks AIDS drama Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married, and the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.

However, without question, Jonathan Demme's crowning achievement was The Silence of the Lambs in 1991. The movie absolutely owned the Academy Awards that year, taking the awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay, as well as a Best Director award for Demme. Few films have had quite the same success at the industry's top awards show. Thanks to the film, Anthony Hopkins' performance as Hanibal Lecter has become one of the most iconic horror performances ever put to screen. The fact that Hopkins even won a Best Actor Oscar, for a role that honestly isn't on screen all that much, just goes to show how impressive the time he had actually was. That's as much the result of a great director as it is the actor's performance. Check out one of the film's great moments in the clip below.

According to Indiewire, Jonathan Demme was first diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010 and while it was apparently dealt with at the time, the director had a recurrence in 2015 that led to his recent deterioration in health. Demme was reportedly working on new projects right up until his death. The director leaves behind a wife, artist Joanne Howard, and three children.

It's always sad to see a major creative individual pass away. Demme left behind several movies by which he will be remembered. We're certainly glad he was here for the time that he was so that he could leave us with so much great art.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.