Steven Spielberg leads tributes to Richard Donner: “The greatest Goonie of all”

He directed 'Superman', 'The Goonies', 'Lethal Weapon' and more

Legendary Hollywood director and producer Richard Donner has died. He was 91.

Donner’s wife, the producer Lauren Schuler Donner, and his business manager confirmed the news to Deadline. No cause of death has been confirmed.

The filmmaker directed some of the most iconic films of the 1970s and 1980s including 1978’s Superman, which starred Christopher Reeve and was the first instalment in the Superman film series.

Donner was also at the helm of The Goonies in 1985 and went on to direct Scrooged in 1988. The filmmaker can be credited with revamping the buddy film genre by creating the Lethal Weapon franchise.

At the end of last year, Donner had signed on to direct Lethal Weapon 5, reuniting with stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. 

“This is the final one,” the filmmaker had said. “It’s both my privilege and duty to put it to bed. It’s exciting, actually… Hahaha! It’s the last one, I’ll promise you that.”

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover on the set of 'Lethal Weapon'
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover on the set of ‘Lethal Weapon’ Credit: Press

Steven Spielberg, who was a close friend of Richard Donner and worked with the filmmaker on The Goonies, said: “Dick had such a powerful command of his movies, and was so gifted across so many genre.

“Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favourite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and – of course – the greatest Goonie of all.”

“He was a kid,” he added. “All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his husky, hearty laugh will stay with me always.”

Corey Feldman, who played Clark “Mouth” Devereaux in The Goonies, also payed tribute to Richard Donner on Twitter.

“Richard Donner was an incredible human,” he wrote. “He was there for me in times throughout my life when no other person would.

“Not only was he an incredible director and storyteller of such incredible films like The GooniesLethal WeaponSupermanThe OmenFree Willy and my personal favourite Scrooged but his greatest achievement in my mind was his ability to be a real life superman by always doing what he could to help both humanity and through his love of animals (he) always used his voice for animals rights as well.”

Doctor Sleep filmmaker Mike Flanagan also tweeted about Donner’s death. “Heartbroken to hear this,” he wrote. “What an incredible talent, what a legacy of terrific work. His films made me want to make movies.”

Edgar Wright wrote in a post: “Richard Donner’s big heart & effervescent charm shone in his movies through the remarkable performances of his cast, which is no mean feat.”

Richard Donner went on to work as a producer across major Hollywood titles, including working as an executive producer on X-Men in 2000 and the following film, 2009’s prequel title X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The filmmaker is survived by his wife Lauren Shuler Donner, whom he had been married to since 1986.