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Richard Donner Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (9)  | Trivia (29)  | Personal Quotes (6)  | Salary (5)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameRichard D. Schwartzberg
Nicknames Dicky Donner
Dick
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Richard Donner was born on April 24, 1930 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard D. Schwartzberg. He is a director and producer, known for Superman (1978), Ladyhawke (1985) and Lethal Weapon (1987). He has been married to Lauren Shuler Donner since November 27, 1986.

Spouse (1)

Lauren Shuler Donner (27 November 1986 - present)

Trade Mark (9)

Frequently casts Mel Gibson
Frequently casts Steve Kahan
Features human free-fall stunts in nearly all his films
Long shots looking at actors through gaps in scenery or between other actors in the scene
Shots from waist level or below looking up at actors
Frequently casts Danny Glover
Movies have a glossy look or feel to them
Often inserts lines of dialog or places PSA posters/stickers for animal rights, human rights, and gun control
Deep gruff voice

Trivia (29)

Frequently makes uncredited appearances in his own movies.
Originally, Donner directed Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) back to back, then cut back on filming the sequel to focus on finishing the first one for a Christmas release. A clash with producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind over the material led to Donner being fired before he could finish filming the second one and he was replaced with Richard Lester. Donner later estimated that he had directed 80% of the sequel and saw about 50% of his work in the theatrical film.
Kept both One-Eyed Willie's head and a model for the ship from The Goonies (1985). Aside from directing the film, he has an uncredited cameo as one of the sheriffs on the quads as the Goonies exit the cave with the ship. He's the one with the gray hair. Producer Steven Spielberg instructed the cast members to act cold and distant toward Donner on the last week of filming, which puzzled him. Shortly after filming wrapped, Donner went to his beach house in Hawaii, ran into a frenzied neighbor who took up his entire day. When he arrived home, the entire cast was there with Donner to celebrate with a cookout. Spielberg flew them over to Hawaii on the promise that they not speak a word of the surprise to Donner, which prompted them to act the way they were on the last week of filming.
He has directed his cousin Steve Kahan in fourteen films: Superman (1978), Inside Moves (1980), The Toy (1982), Lethal Weapon (1987), Scrooged (1988), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Radio Flyer (1992), Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), Maverick (1994), Assassins (1995), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), Timeline (2003) and 16 Blocks (2006).
Was actively pursued by Michael Crichton to direct Jurassic Park (1993).
Was asked to direct the fourth Superman film (Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)), and considered it alongside Tom Mankiewicz, who had been the writer of the first two Superman films, but ultimately both Donner and Mankiewicz declined, as they had other projects to deal with at the time.
Was considered to direct Batman (1989), and had actor Mel Gibson in mind for the role of Batman.
Was offered the job of directing Never Say Never Again (1983) but turned it down according to the book "The Films of Sean Connery" by Philip Lisa and Lee Pfeiffer.
Co-producer of the "X-Men" films directed by Bryan Singer, who later directed Superman Returns (2006), a little more than 30 years after Donner himself directed the first one, Superman (1978).
Turned down the offer to direct Alien³ (1992).
Lives in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, California.
He was interested in directing DragonHeart (1996) and spent six months on it in preproduction before moving on to other projects.
Directed one Oscar nominated performance: Diana Scarwid in Inside Moves (1980).
He was offered the opportunity to direct Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) but he declined.
Little Caesar (1931) is his favorite film.
The novelization for Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) uses the word omen; Donner directed The Omen (1976), and The Goonies (1985) the same year as Holmes and both were scripted by Chris Columbus and produced by Steven Spielberg. The book also says one of the characters is a superman to Holmes; this may be an in-joke to Donner who directed The Goonies (1985) and the first two Superman movies; there is a scene in Donner's movie when Sloth reveals a shirt with Superman's S on it.
His mother, Hattie, was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents. His father, Fred Schwartzberg, was a Russian Jewish immigrant.
Directed the two war veterans turned actors who played the iconic disabled war veteran Homer Parish in the different versions of the same story - The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Returning Home (1975). Donner directed Harold Russell in Inside Moves (1980) and James R. Miller in Scrooged (1988).
He was considered to direct Problem Child (1990), but he declined as he was busy in post-production on Lethal Weapon 2 (1989).
He was originally going to direct Wild Wild West (1999) (he had directed three episodes of The Wild Wild West (1965)). His version would have had a script by Shane Black and Mel Gibson starring as Jim West. Donner and Gibson wound up dropping out to make Maverick (1994) instead.
Ridley Scott offered him the chance to direct Thelma & Louise (1991). He was keen to shoot the film - he called the script "historic" - but wanted his wife, Lauren Shuler Donner to produce, but Scott was not enthusiastic about that.
He was considered to direct Judge Dredd (1995).
He didn't return to direct either Damien: Omen II (1978) or The Final Conflict (1981). In the former case, he was busy with Superman (1978), while in the latter case he was involved with legal problems involving Ilya Salkind and Alexander Salkind after being sacked from Superman II (1980).
He was considered to direct Matilda (1996).
At one point, he was going to direct The Flintstones (1994). When the movie went from Warner Bros. to Universal, he stayed around but had to pull out due to conflicting schedules with Maverick (1994).
He originally intended to direct The Lost Boys (1987) himself, but as production languished, he moved onto Lethal Weapon (1987) and eventually hired Joel Schumacher for the job. He still served as executive producer on the film.
He was considered to direct Rambo (2008).
On October 16, 2008, Donner and Lauren Shuler Donner received stars in a double ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their achievements in motion pictures, located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
He has directed two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Superman (1978) and The Goonies (1985).

Personal Quotes (6)

[Acknowledging Geoffrey Unsworth for developing the photography process that made the flying scenes in Superman (1978) possible] If it hadn't been for Geoffrey Unsworth, we wouldn't have had a movie.
[on Mel Gibson] Mel Gibson is God's gift to a director, but he tells the worst jokes in the world.
[on Mel Gibson] The most exciting thing that's come into my life as an actor and a friend. He's a very special human being.
[on László Kovács, cinematographer] He is and was such a genius. He loved light so much. He and Vilmos [cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond]. It was like you'd toss a coin. "Who are we going to get? Who's available? Get me one of them Hungarians!"
[on Christopher Reeve] He's the real-life Superman. I know I will see him walk again.
[on casting Marlon Brando in Superman (1978)] Marlon's the kind of man that if he can collect his money and not do the deed, he'd be only too happy to do so.

Salary (5)

The Omen (1976) $115,000
Superman (1978) $1,000,000
Radio Flyer (1992) $5,000,000
Assassins (1995) $12,000,000
Conspiracy Theory (1997) $5,000,000

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