Director-producer Richard Donner, best known for helming the “Lethal Weapon” film series, “The Goonies” and the original “Superman” film, died on Monday. He was 91.
Donner’s production company confirmed news of his death to Variety, though the cause was not disclosed.
Though not his first bigscreen effort, his big feature break came with 1976’s “The Omen,” starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. Thereafter, he brought his craftsmanship to the first “Superman.” He also branched out into producing (“Free Willy,” “The Lost Boys”), usually with his wife Lauren Shuler Donner — he executive produced the huge 2000 success “X-Men” and later the prequel “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” But his career was highlighted by the “Lethal Weapon” series, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, which elevated him to the ranks of directors generating more than a billion dollars in box office.
Born Richard Donald Schwartzberg in the Bronx, he attended Parker Junior College and then NYU, where he majored in business and theater. Donner, who began his career as on the other side of the camera as an actor, soon graduated to television directing, honing his craft through work on such series as “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “The Fugitive.”