Jonathan Demme

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Robert Jonathan Demme (born February 22, 1944) is an American filmmaker, producer and screenwriter. He is best known for directing The Silence of the Lambs, which won him the Academy Award for Best Director.


Personal life

Demme was born in Baldwin, Nassau County, New York in 1944.[1] He is a graduate of the University of Florida. He also was the uncle of Ted Demme, who died in 2002. He is currently a member of the steering committee of the Friends of the Apollo Theater in Oberlin, Ohio, along with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman.[2] Demme has three children by two marriages: Ramona, Brooklyn, Josephine.

During the 1980s, Demme had a brief romantic relationship with rock singer Belinda Carlisle, who appeared in his movie Swing Shift.[3]


Demme broke into feature film working for exploitation film producer Roger Corman from 1971 to 1976, co-writing and producing Angels Hard as They Come and The Hot Box. He then moved on to directing, with three films (Caged Heat, Crazy Mama, Fighting Mad) for Corman's studio New World Pictures. After Fighting Mad, Demme directed the comedy film Handle with Care for Paramount Pictures in 1977. The film was well-reviewed by critics,[4] but received little promotion,[5] and performed poorly at the box office.[6]

Demme's next film, 1980's Melvin and Howard, did not get a wide release, but received a groundswell of critical acclaim, and led to the signing of Demme to direct the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell star vehicle Swing Shift. Intended as a prestige picture for Warner Bros.[7] as well as a major commercial vehicle for Demme,[8] it instead became a troubled production due to the conflicting visions of Demme and star Hawn. Demme ended up renouncing the finished product, and when the film was released in May 1984, it was generally panned by critics and neglected by moviegoers.[7] After Swing Shift, Demme stepped back from Hollywood to make the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense; the eclectic screwball action-romantic comedy Something Wild; a film-version of the stage production Swimming to Cambodia, by monologist Spaulding Gray; and the New York Mafia-by-way-of Downtown comedy Married to the Mob. a[›]

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