Richard Donner — Director of Superman, Lethal Weapon, and The Goonies — Dead at 91
Richard Donner started out in the television industry before making a significant stamp at the box office
Richard Donner — the veteran filmmaker behind The Goonies, Superman, and all four films in the Lethal Weapon franchise — has died. He was 91.
The producer and director, who was born on April 24, 1930 in the Bronx, died on Monday, his production company The Donner's Company confirmed to PEOPLE. No immediate cause of death was shared.
Donner's career began as an actor, but he soon pivoted towards directing. He helmed a number of commercials and television episodes throughout the '60s including Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Loretta Young Show, Route 66, The Rifleman, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan's Island, Perry Mason, The Wild Wild West, Get Smart, The Fugitive, and The Twilight Zone (including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," one of the series' most revered episodes).
On the big screen, Donner directed a few films —like 1961's X-15, 1968's Salt and Pepper, and 1971's London Affair — before his big break came around with 1976's classic horror film, The Omen.
That film grossed over $60 million at the box office, making back well-over its $2 million budget.
Its success catapulted Donner's career forward. He directed the original 1978 Superman movie with Christopher Reeve; Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason in 1982's The Toy; and Michelle Pfeiffer in 1985's Ladyhawke.
The Goonies, in 1985, was Donner's first family film foray, something he repeated again in 1992's Radio Flyer.
He also directed 1987's Lethal Weapon, with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and all three of the franchise's additional installments.
Other credits include Scrooged (1988), Maverick (1994), Assassins (1995), Conspiracy Theory (1997), and Timeline (2003), and most recently, 2006's 16 Blocks.
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Donner formed The Donner's Company in 1986 alongside his wife and fellow producer Lauren Schuler. It was first named Donner/Shuler-Donner Productions before making the switch to its current name in 1999.
The company had its first major success in 1993, with Free Willy, which spawned multiple sequels and a television series.
For several decades, the company had had a joint partnership with Warner Bros. Successes have included the X-Men movies, Deadpool, Just Married, She's the Man, The Secret Life of Bees and shows like Legion and The Gifted.