Hollywood recently suffered the loss of Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme. Best remembered as the director of the critically acclaimed Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, Demme had an impressive career spanning 45 years.
Demme got his start in the early ‘70s, working for b-movie legend Roger Corman as a writer and producer before being given his first directorial work in 1974 with the Corman-produced exploitation film Caged Heat, which would become a cornerstone of the women in prison genre.
By the 1980s, he was directing more mainstream fare, such as 1980’s Melvin and Howard (for which a young Mary Steenburgen won an Oscar) and 1986’s Something Wild. During this time, Demme also directed the film version of Spalding Gray’s monologue Swimming To Cambodia and the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense.
Mainstream success came in droves for Demme in the 1990s. He won the Oscar for best director for 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs and followed it up with the even-more critically acclaimed Philadelphia in 1993.
He spent the rest of his career oscillating between feature films and documentaries using his success as a tool to do projects he was passionate about such as three Neil Young films, a big screen adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Master Builder, and the Jimmy Carter documentary Man From Plains.