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Jonathan Demme, director and father of Masters students, dies at 73

Director+Jonathan+Demme%2C+father+of+two+Masters+alumni%2C+passed+away+at+73.+He+was+most+noted+for+his+1993+film+%22The+Silence+of+the+Lambs.%22
Director Jonathan Demme, father of two Masters alumni, passed away at 73. He was most noted for his 1993 film

Director Jonathan Demme, father of two Masters alumni, passed away at 73. He was most noted for his 1993 film "The Silence of the Lambs."

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Director Jonathan Demme, father of two Masters alumni, passed away at 73. He was most noted for his 1993 film "The Silence of the Lambs."

David Oks, Copy Editor

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Jonathan Demme, director of such noted films as Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia and the father of Masters alumni Brooklyn and Jos Demme, died on Wednesday at his home in New York City. He was 73.

Demme earned strong and consistent approval from critics for his films. He directed the 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, about the band Talking Heads; the 1993 drama Philadelphia, about the struggle of a lawyer and AIDS victim; and the 1998 horror-drama Beloved, based on Toni Morrison’s novel of the same name, based around a ghost’s haunting of a former slave.

Earning particular renown was his most lauded work, The Silence of the Lambs, which centered on a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent’s hunt for a serial killer and her relationship with an incarcerated serial killer, the infamous Hannibal Lecter. He won the 1991 Academy Award for Best Director for the film.

Demme was particularly passionate about using his directorial skills for political activism and to raise awareness about important issues. He directed two films—1987’s Haiti: Dreams of Democracy and 2003’s The Agronomist—about Haiti alone. He also chronicled Jimmy Carter in the 2007 documentary Man from Plains and, later in life, made a 20-minute film about protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota.

Hollywood stars were quick to eulogize Demme, who had throughout his long career worked with such figures as Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Jodie Foster. “I am heartbroken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him,” Foster said in a statement.

Two of Demme’s children, Brooklyn (Class of 2008) and Jos (Class of 2013), attended Masters. According to reports, they were with him when he passed away.

He is survived by his wife, Joanne, and their three children.

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Jonathan Demme, director and father of Masters students, dies at 73