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Profile of Jonathan Demme

Filmmaker
Date Of Birth:
22 February 1944
Date Of Death:
26 April 2017
Place Of Birth:
Baldwin, New York
Best Known As:
The director of 'Silence of the Lambs'

Name at birth: Robert Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme made documentaries, music videos and feature films, and was best known as the Oscar-winning director of Silence of the Lambs (1991). After living in London and working in TV commercials and film criticism in the late 1960s, Jonathan Demme began his career as a filmmaker working for producer Roger Corman. Demme made his directorial debut with a women-in-prison exploitation film, 1974's Caged Heat. He kicked off the 1980s with the critically acclaimed Melvin and Howard (1980), had a groundbreaking concert movie with The Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense (1984), boosted Melanie Griffith's career with the hit Something Wild (1986), and closed out the decade with the charming comedy Married to the Mob (1988). Demme followed the success of Silence of the Lambs (which brought Oscars for Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins) with 1993's Philadelphia (an Oscar for Tom Hanks), the first Hollywood movie to tackle the subject of AIDS. In 1998, Demme directed the film version of Toni Morrison's Beloved. Demme's later career was marked by unusual documentaries, including several music-oriented ones with big stars such as Neil Young, Kenny Chesney and Justin Timberlake. He also did the feature films Rachel Getting Married (2008, starring Anne Hathaway) and Ricki and the Flash (2015, starring Meryl Streep). His other films include the documentaries Cousin Bobby (1992) and Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (2007), and the feature films Swing Shift (1984, starring Goldie Hawn, a film he disowned), The Truth About Charlie (2002) and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate (2004, starring Denzel Washington).