Jonathan Demme, Director of 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Philadelphia,' Dies at 73

Jonathan Demme, Director of 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Philadelphia,' Dies at 73

The Oscar winner lost his battle with cancer.

Published April 26, 2017

The world lost another Hollywood great this week as Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, has died due to esophageal cancer and complications due to heart disease. He was 73.

A source close to Demme's family confirmed the news to Indie Wire. They added that he was initially treated for the disease back in 2010, but "suffered from a recurrence in 2015," with his condition worsening in the weeks leading up to his death.

The celebrated director broke into the film industry as a writer and director for Roger Corman, a well-known exploitation movie producer and director, in the early 1970s. Since then, he became a household name in his own merit through the introduction of the 1980s drama Melvin and Howard.

After this, he became known for his whimsical, almost light-hearted comedy-dramas and live performance films like Stop Making Sense and Swimming to Cambodia, but it wasn't until he took a different route, making his own adaptation of Thomas Harris's serial-killer novel The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, that he was recognized by the Academy. He earned the Oscar for Best Director for his work on the film, which many believe ushered the genre of horror into the same prestige as others.

Demme leaves behind his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Jonathan Demme's family, friends and fans during this time.

Get the latest on another recent death in the BET Breaks video, above.

Written by Moriba Cummings

(Photo: NACHO LOPEZ/DYDPPA/REX/Shutterstock)

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