DC Database

Richard Donner (b. April 24, 1930 – d.July 5, 2021) was a celebrated American filmmaker, best remembered as the director of Superman: The Movie and Superman II.

Professional History

Richard Donner, also known as Dick Donner, was an American director, producer, and writer, whose fifty-year-long career extended to a wide range of projects across multiple genres, and resulted in some of the most celebrated films of the twentieth century. Beginning his career as a television director, he directed episodes of cult classic shows such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Fugitive, The Twilight Zone, and The Banana Splits, before making his breakthrough with the classic horror film The Omen in 1976.

In 1977, Donner directed principal photography for the DC Comics superhero films Superman: The Movie and Superman II, both from a story by Mario Puzo, with the expectation that he would complete the latter movie after the first film's release. However, despite the first film being released to great critical and commercial success in 1978, revolutionizing the sci-fi/fantasy genre in movies, Donner was fired from Superman II early into production by producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, who replaced him with Richard Lester. The movie was released in 1980 to similar acclaim, but many agreed the firing of Donner was a mistake, especially considering that Lester's subsequent Superman film, Superman III, was critically eviscerated.

Donner continued to have great success outside of Superman, most notably with the films The Goonies, Scrooged, and Lethal Weapon, the latter of which went on to become its own successful film franchise. In 2006, Donner returned to DC to compile the footage they had to create an approximation of his edit of Superman II, entitled Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which was released on DVD to much praise from fans. The same year, Donner appeared in documentary Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman, and collaborated with writer Geoff Johns, with whom he co-wrote the Action Comics storyline "Last Son".

Donner's final contribution to DC Comics and the Superman mythos came in the anthology issue Action Comics #1000, in which he once again teamed up with Johns to write the story "The Car". Donner passed away in 2021, and his films are still widely celebrated years later, with Superman: The Movie and Superman II having been cited as not only two of the greatest superhero movies ever made, but the primary inspiration for several superhero films to follow, as well as the Superman comics themselves.

Work History

Acting Credits

Superman II December 4, 1980 Passerby (Uncredited)
Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman June 20, 2006 Himself

External Links