Very sad news to report today as it has been announced that prolific director and producer Richard Donner has died at the age of 91. The news was revealed by his wife and business manager, producer Lauren Schuler Donner. Donner is best known for making us believe a man could fly with Superman, one of the first comic-book movies that took its characters and genre seriously and set off a wave of superhero movies that continues to this day. Of course, Donner also brought Mel Gibson and Danny Glover together for the Lethal Weapon franchise, and was even working on what would have been the fifth and final installment of the series just last year.
Born in 1930, Richard Donner started his career in television, directing episodes of Wanted Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, Have Gun — Will Travel, The Rifleman, The Lieutenant, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason, Get Smart, The Fugitive, The Wild Wild West, Cannon, Kojak, Tales from the Crypt, and much more. Donner also helmed several episode of The Twilight Zone, including the famous Nightmare at 20,000 Feet starring William Shatner. Richard Donner made his breakthrough film with The Omen starring Gregory Peck, and went on to direct Superman, The Toy, The Goonies, Ladyhawke, Scrooged, Radio Flyer, Maverick, Conspiracy Theory, Timeline, 16 Blocks, and more. He also helmed about 75% of Superman II before the producers fired him and replaced him with Richard Lester, who reshot a good portion of the movie. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was later completed and released in 2006. Donner also produced a number of blockbusters, typically with his wife Lauren, including The Lost Boys, Free Willy, and X-Men. You will be missed, Mr. Donner.