Movies | Pop Culture | 90s

'The Silence of the Lambs' Director Jonathan Demme Dead At Age 73

Sad news for horror fans, and movie fans in general, as it's been confirmed that Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme was found dead in New York this morning. According to sources close to the family, the cause of death was  esophageal cancer and complications of heart disease. He was best known for directing The Silence of the Lambs, which to date is the only horror film to have won a Best Picture Oscar. However, Demme had a long and varied career behind the camera, helming blockbuster movies like Philadelphia, Beloved, and The Manchurian Candidate as well as smaller fare like Rachel Getting Married, and episodes of TV shows ranging from Saturday Night Live to crime drama The Killing.

Demme was also known for directing music videos and music-centered documentaries. Over the years he worked with everyone from New Order and Bruce Springsteen to Kenny Chesney and most recently Justin Timberlake for the documentary Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids. He also frequently collaborated with David Byrne of The Talking Heads and Neil Young.

Known for being exceptionally private, the loss of Jonathan Demme is undoubtedly a tough blow for the art of filmmaking. Demme is survived by his wife, Joanne Howard and their three kids.