Richard Donner, an American director who was born Richard Donald Schwartzberg, is remembered for producing some of the most commercially successful movies of the New Hollywood period. Film historian Michael Barson cites Donner as “one of Hollywood’s most dependable action blockbuster producers.” Over the course of his more than 50-year career, he worked in a variety of cinema genres and styles.
Richard Donner Early years
Hattie (Horowitz) and Fred Schwartzberg, Russian Jews, were the parents of Richard Donald Schwartzberg when he was born in the Bronx, New York City. His mother was a stay-at-home mother, while his father ran a modest furniture manufacturing company. He had a sister named Joan. His grandfather’s Brooklyn movie theatre ownership had an early impact on how he saw movies.
Donner served in the U.S. Navy as an aerial photographer after finishing high school. In order to pursue an acting career, he temporarily attended New York University before leaving, moving to Los Angeles, and taking the stage name “Richard Donner.“
Death of Richard Donner
Richard Donner, a well-known Hollywood producer and director best known for his work on The Goonies, Superman The Movie, and the Lethal Weapon series, passed away from heart failure and heart disease. Donner’s death certificate was made public more than a month after his wife, Lauren Schuler Donner, and business manager announced his passing on Monday, July 5 at age 91.
Richard Donner’s Cause of Death Revealed
Little information about the circumstances of Donner’s death was made public at the time of his demise. His manager and wife made no mention of a potential cause of death. Cardiopulmonary failure was recorded as the cause of death on Donner’s death certificate, which TMZ obtained. According to the report, Donner passed away on July 5 in the morning at his home in West Hollywood. The underlying cause of his death is indicated as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
What Does His Death Certificate Say?
Donner’s death certificate also acknowledges his extensive film and television career, stating that he directed films for 65 years. He made his debut in the business as a television director in the late 1950s. He started making movies in the 1960s, and in 1976, the first The Omen became his breakout feature. In addition to The Goonies (1985), Ladyhawke (1985), Scrooged (1988), and his final movie, 16 Blocks, he went on to star in Superman (1978). (2006).
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Richard Donner Career
Donner initially intended to pursue a profession as an actress. After landing a small role in a Martin Ritt-directed television series, Donner was urged to pursue a career in filmmaking. Donner joined Ritt as his assistant. Later, Donner worked for Desilu as a director of commercials. He transitioned into directing television dramas in the late 1950s, working on episodes of the Chuck Connors western The Rifleman and the Steve McQueen western serial Wanted Dead or Alive.
He directed more than 25 television shows in his early career, including “The Banana Splits,” “The Fugitive,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “The Wild Wild West,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Kojak,” and “The Twilight Zone” (including the episodes “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” starring William Shatner and “From Agnes—With Love” starring Wally Cox), as well as the serial Danger.
On November 27, 1986, Donner wed film producer Lauren Shuler (b. 1949). In the same year, the two combined their individual production companies to form Shuler-Donner Productions, which is now The Donners’ Company. Shuler and Donner stayed married until the former’s passing.
Donner was the cousin of actor Steve Kahan, who portrayed Captain Ed Murphy in the Lethal Weapon movie series and a police officer pursuing Otis in Superman: The Movie. Kahan was also a part of some of Donner’s other movies.
At the age of 91, Donner passed away on July 5, 2021, in his West Hollywood, California, home. Heart failure was the cause of death, and atherosclerosis was the underlying factor.
Richard Donner was born Richard Donald Schwartzberg in the Bronx, New York City. Donner served in the U.S. Navy as an aerial photographer after high school. He directed films for 65 years, including The Goonies, Scrooged, and The Omen. Donner passed away on July 5, 2021, at the age of 91.
Heart failure was the cause of death, and atherosclerosis was the underlying factor. He directed more than 25 television shows in his early career, including “The Banana Splits,” “The Fugitive,” and “The Wild Wild West”.