Beloved filmmaker hailed by peers as someone ‘who knew how to capture that magic onscreen’
The filmmaker behind Lethal Weapon and Superman and more enjoyed a career spanning over five decades. Among his best-known films were the Lethal Weapon franchise, the 1976 horror The Omen, and the 1985 adventure film The Goonies.
Following the news of his death, fellow directors acknowledged Donner as a major influence on their own work, and credited his attitude towards filmmaking.
Steven Spielberg, a close friend who worked with Donner on The Goonies, hailed him as “the greatest Goonie of all”.
“Dick had such a powerful command of his movies, and was so gifted across so many genres,” he said. “Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favourite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and – of course – the greatest Goonie of all.”
“He was a kid,” he added. “All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his husky, hearty laugh will stay with me always.”
“Richard Donner’s big heart and effervescent charm shone in his movies through the remarkable performances of his cast, which is no mean feat. You remember all the characters inSuperman, Lethal Weapon, The Goonies and more, because Donner knew how to capture that magic onscreen,” Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright said.
Corey Feldman, who starred in The Goonies as Clark “Mouth” Devereaux, was also among those paying tribute.
He said on Twitter: “Richard Donner was an incredible human. He was there for me in times throughout my life when no other person would.
“Not only was he an incredible director and storyteller of such incredible films like The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, Superman, The Omen, Free Willy and my personal favourite Scrooged but his greatest achievement in my mind was his ability to be a real life superman by always doing what he could to help both humanity and through his love of animals (he) always used his voice for animals rights as well.”
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In his tribute, actor Ben Stiller said: “Richard Donner made big time movies. Movies that remain in our consciousness. That never has been and never is easy. Always admired his work.”
Mel Gibson, who found fame starring in Lethal Weapon alongside Danny Glover, described Donner as “my friend, my mentor”.
“Oh, the things I learnt from him!” he said. “He undercut his own talent and greatness with a huge chunk of humility, referring to himself as ‘merely a traffic cop’. He left his ego at the door and required that of others. He was magnanimous of heart and soul, which he liberally gave to all who knew him.”
“If we piled up all the good deeds he did, it would stretch to some uncharted place in the firmament,” he said. “I will sorely miss him, with all his mischievous wit and wisdom.”
“Thank you, Richard Donner,” tweeted Zach Synder, director of 2013’s Superman film Man of Steel. “You made me believe.”
Additional reporting by Press Association