Donner, Richard

Donner, Richard, 1930-2021, American film director, b. Bronx, N.Y., as Richard Donald Schwartzberg. Donner came from a Russian, Jewish immigrant family. After briefly acting on television in 1950-51, he changed his name to Donner and founded a commercial production company. He first directed TV shows in the early ‘60s, and then films in the later ‘60s. He had his first hit with 1976’s The Omen, followed by the first Superman (1978) film. His other hits included The Goonies (1985) and the four-part Lethal Weapon series (1987, 1989, 1992, 1998), which solidified the career of Mel Gibson, and the remake of the TV show, Maverick (1994). He and his wife also produced the successful Free Willy and X-Men series of films.

See the biography by J. Christie (2010).

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