'Silence of the Lambs' Director Jonathan Demme Has Died at 73

The prolific filmmaker also worked with a slew of iconic musicians, from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Young to the Talking Heads.
April 26, 2017, 5:20pm
Jonathan Demme in 2012 Photo via AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis.

Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director behind The Silence of the Lambs and frequent Neil Young collaborator, died Wednesday at the age of 73 from health complications, IndieWire reports.

Over his prolific filmmaking career, Demme directed everything from major motion pictures to episodes of television shows and shot documentaries and music videos. As a Hollywood filmmaker, Demme is probably best known for directing Philadelphia, an emotional film about the AIDS crisis starring Tom Hanks, and The Silence of the Lambs. Lambs earned Demme an Oscar for directing in 1991.

Demme also worked with a slew of iconic musicians. In the 80s, he directed Stop Making Sense, a documentary about the Talking Heads. He also worked with Neil Young a number of times, directing Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006), Neil Young Trunk Show (2009), and Neil Young Journeys (2011). If that wasn't impressive enough, he also helped direct two music videos for Bruce Springsteen—"Streets of Philadelphia" and "Murder Incorporated." More recently, he directed the 2016 documentary Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids.

In his later years, Demme worked with Anne Hathaway, directing 2008's Rachel Getting Married, and explored the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the 2011 documentary I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad, and The Beautiful. He also lent his hand to directing a few episodes of the true-crime television drama The Killing.

In 2010, Demme was first treated for esophageal cancer and heart disease. It wasn't until recently, in 2015, that complications from the diseases began to rapidly deteriorate his health. He died in New York on Wednesday morning, and he is survived by his wife, Joanne Howard, and his three children.