Jonathan Demme

Director, Producer, Screenwriter
An incredibly energetic, optimistic and versatile director of character-driven films, Jonathan Demme emerged from the crucible of B-moviemaking at Roger Corman's New World Pictures in the early 1970s to become one of ... Read more »
Born: 02/22/1944 in Baldwin, New York, USA

Filmography

Director (39)

Ricki and the Flash 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

A Master Builder 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Enzo Avitabile Music Life 2013 (Movie)

(Director)

Fear of Falling 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

Neil Young Journeys 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

Enlightened 2011 (Tv Show)

Director

Rachel Getting Married 2008 (Movie)

(Director)

Jimmy Carter Man from Plains 2007 (Movie)

(Director)

Neil Young: Heart of Gold 2006 (Movie)

(Director)

The Agronomist 2004 (Movie)

(Director)

The Manchurian Candidate 2004 (Movie)

(Director)

The Truth About Charlie 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Beloved 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

Storefront Hitchcock 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

Subway Stories: Tales From the Underground 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Director

Philadelphia 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Cousin Bobby 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

Red, Hot & Blue 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Segment Director

The Silence of the Lambs 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

A Family Tree 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Director

Married to the Mob 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Haiti Dreams of Democracy 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Swimming to Cambodia 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Something Wild 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Sun City 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Director

Perfect Kiss 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Stop Making Sense 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Swing Shift 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Melvin and Howard 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

Last Embrace 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Columbo 1971 - 1978 (Tv Show)

Director

Citizens Band 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

Crazy Mama 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Fighting Mad 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Caged Heat 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Old Fires (Movie)

(Director)

Who Am I This Time? (TV Show)

Director
Producer (39)

Song One 2015 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Gifted Man 2011 - 2012 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Neil Young Journeys 2012 (Movie)

(Producer)

Crude Independence 2009 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Rachel Getting Married 2008 (Movie)

(Producer)

Jimmy Carter Man from Plains 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Neil Young: Heart of Gold 2006 (Movie)

(Producer)

Beah: A Black Woman Speaks 2004 (Movie)

(Producer)

I'll Sing For You 2004 (Movie)

("presents") (Producer)

The Agronomist 2004 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Manchurian Candidate 2004 (Movie)

(Producer)

Adaptation 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Truth About Charlie 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Wide Blue Road 2001 (Movie)

presented by(restored print) (Producer)

Maangamizi - The Ancient One 2000 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Opportunists 2000 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Six Ways to Sunday 1999 (Movie)

("presents") (Producer)

Beloved 1998 (Movie)

(Producer)

Shadrach 1998 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Mandela 1997 (Movie)

(Producer)

Ulee's Gold 1997 (Movie)

("presents") (Producer)

Desolation Angels 1996 (Movie)

("presents") (Producer)

That Thing You Do! 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Devil in A Blue Dress 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Roy Cohn/Jack Smith 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Roy Cohn/Jack Smith 1995 (Movie)

("presents") (Producer)

Amos and Andrew 1993 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Haiti: Killing the Dream 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Producer

Household Saints 1993 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Philadelphia 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Women & Men II 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Producer

Miami Blues 1990 (Movie)

(Producer)

Haiti Dreams of Democracy 1987 (Movie)

(Producer)

Something Wild 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Hot Box 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

Angels Hard As They Come 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (12)

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Oz 1997 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Tom Hanks: Hollywood's Golden Boy 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Bruce Springsteen: Blood Brothers 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

That Thing You Do! 1996 (Movie)

Major Motion Picture Director (Actor)

Dying is Easy 1995 (Movie)

(cameo appearance) (Actor)

Cousin Bobby 1992 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Into the Night 1985 (Movie)

Federal Agent (Actor)

Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel 1977 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Incredible Melting Man 1976 (Movie)

Matt (Actor)
Writer (11)

Jimmy Carter Man from Plains 2007 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Truth About Charlie 2002 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Haiti Dreams of Democracy 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Perfect Kiss 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Swing Shift 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Fighting Mad 1976 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Caged Heat 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Black Mama, White Mama 1971 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Hot Box 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Angels Hard As They Come 1970 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Camera, Film, & Tape (3)

Jimmy Carter Man from Plains 2007 (Movie)

(Camera)

The Agronomist 2004 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)
Sound (1)

Stop Making Sense 1984 (Movie)

sound rerecording mixer (Sound)
Music (1)

An Everlasting Piece 2000 (Movie)

("Stop Making Sense") (Song)
Other (5)

Horses of God 2014 (Movie)

Presented by (Other)

Novocaine 2001 (Movie)

(Special Thanks)

The Longest Shadow 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Creative Consultant

Straight Out of Brooklyn 1991 (Movie)

(Special Thanks)

True Love 1989 (Movie)

assistance (Assistant)

Biography

An incredibly energetic, optimistic and versatile director of character-driven films, Jonathan Demme emerged from the crucible of B-moviemaking at Roger Corman's New World Pictures in the early 1970s to become one of Hollywood's most critically admired filmmakers. Though he cut his teeth on a few cheapie action flicks like "Caged Heat" (1974) and "Crazy Mama" (1975), Demme tapped into the influence of foreign filmmakers like Francois Truffaut to use sly humor and an oddball style to explore human nature in fiercely intimate films like "Citizen's Band" (1977), "Melvin and Howard" (1980) and the troubled "Swing Shift" (1984). Though mainly interested in fictional storytelling, Demme also carved out a career in non-fiction filmmaking, including the critically acclaimed "Stop Making Sense" (1984), a rock documentary featuring Talking Heads that was widely considered to be one of the best examples of the genre. But Demme reserved his finest work for his most mainstream fare, particularly "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991), which became one of only three films to win Academy Awards in all five major Oscar categories and cemented his reputation as being one of the most versatile and accomplished filmmakers of his day.

Relationships

Josephine Demme

Daughter
Mother, Joanne Howard

Peter Demme

Brother

Rick Demme

Brother

Robert Castle

Cousin
Was the subject of Demme's 1992 feature documentary "Cousin Bobby" minister at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Harlem, NYC and a believer in liberation theology had lost touch with Demme for over 30 years before reuniting with him in 1989 to work on the film

Dorothy Demme

Mother
Appeared in bit roles in several of her son's films died Nobermber 20, 1995 of emphysema at age 81

Ramona Demme

Daughter
Born c. 1987 mother, Joanne Howard

Brooklyn Demme

Son
Born c. 1989 mother, Joanne Howard

Ted Demme

Nephew
Best known for directing "The Ref" (1994) and "Blow" (2001) died of a heart attack in 2002 at age 38

Jennifer Demme

Niece
Worked for MTV

Joanne Howard

Wife
Divorced mother of his three children

Evelyn Purcell

Wife
Produced Demme's first film as a director "Caged Heat" (1974) also produced and was second unit director on Demme's "Fighting Mad" (1976) divorced

EDUCATION

University of Florida

Gainesville , Florida
Attended for a few semesters; film reviewer for the student newspaper The Florida Alligator

Milestones

2015

Directed comedy-drama "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Mamie Gummer.

2014

Directed hour-long TV movie "Line of SIght" for AMC

2013

Directed "A Master Builder," Wallace Shawn's adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen

2012

Directed music documentary "Kenny Chesney: Unstaged"

2011

Directed two episodes of HBO comedy-drama "Enlightened," starring Laura Dern

2011

Directed music documentary "Neil Young Journeys"

2009

Directed concert documentary "Neil Young Trunk Show"

2008

Directed the family drama "Rachel Getting Married" starring Anne Hathaway and Debra Winger

2007

Helmed the documentary "Man from Plains," featuring Jimmy Carter as Carter promotes his book Palestine:Peace not Apartheid

2004

Directed a remake of the 1962 thriller "The Manchurian Candidate," based on the novel by Richard Condon

2002

Directed "The Truth About Charlie," a remake of the classic "Charade"

1998

Directed an adaptation of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Beloved"; starring and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey

1998

Directed a concert film starring cult rocker Robyn Hitchcock, "Storefront Hitchcock"

1997

Executive produced and helmed "Subway Car From Hell" segment of HBO's anthology movie "Subway Stories: Tales From the Underground"

1994

Provided the funding so that his wife's best friend, AIDS-stricken artist Juan Botas, could make his documentary "One Foot on a Banana Peel, the Other Foot in the Grave"

1993

Produced and directed "Philadelphia," a look at the AIDS epidemic and American homophobia starring Tom Hanks

1992

Directed "Cousin Bobby," a documentary of radical Harlem clergyman Robert Castle, the director's cousin

1991

Directed first blockbuster, "The Silence of the Lambs"

1988

Directed the Mafia farce "Married to the Mob" starring Michelle Pfeiffer

1987

Directed "Swimming to Cambodia," Spalding Gray's monologue about his participation in the film, "The Killing Fields"

1986

Produced and directed the comedy thriller "Something Wild"

1985

Contributed a cameo to John Landis' "Into the Night"

1984

Shot Talking Heads concert film, "Stop Making Sense"

1984

Co-wrote and directed World War II-set comedy "Swing Shift"; star and executive producer Goldie Hawn took over final cut and hired another director to re-shoot parts of the film

1982

Directed the PBS teleplay, "Who Am I This Time?" starring Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken

1982

First credit as Rob Morton for his contributions to the screenplay of "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains"

1981

Helped photograph Adam Brooks' independent film "Ghost Sisters"

1980

Re-teamed with Le Mat (as Melvin Dummar) in "Melvin and Howard"; first association with Jason Robards Jr. (as Howard Hughes)

1979

Directed the Hitchcockian suspense thriller "Last Embrace"

1978

Acted in the film "The Incredible Melting Man"

1978

Made TV directorial debut with "Murder Under Glass," an NBC TV-movie episode of the Peter Falk "Columbo" series

1977

First collaboration with actor Paul Le Mat, "Citizens Band/Handle With Care"

1974

Feature directing debut, "Caged Heat"; also wrote screenplay; first collaboration with director of photography Tak Fujimoto

1972

Re-teamed with Viola to make "The Hot Box"

1970

Debut as co-screenwriter, co-producer and second unit director, "Angels Hard as They Come"; directed by Joe Viola and produced by Corman

1969

First film credit as a musical coordinator on the Irwin Allen production "Sudden Terror/Eyewitness"

1968

Met and befriended Francois Truffaut, who was then publicizing "The Bride Wore Black" (1968) in NYC

1966

Sold films for Pathe Contemporary Films in NYC

1964

Introduced by his father to producer Joseph E. Levine who, pleased by Demme's review of "Zulu" (1964), hired him to write press releases

Made 16mm short film, "Good Morning, Steve"

While working in London, met producer-director Roger Corman

Bonus Trivia

.

Moved in his teens from New York to Miami, where his father was the public relations manager for the Fontainebleau Hotel.

.

Wrote reviews and features for exhibitor trade paper Film Daily while trying to break into the film business.

.

Demme used the pseudonym Rob Morton for screenwriting credit on "Swing Shift" (directed under his real name) and "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains."

.

Directed a number of music videos in the 1980s and '90s, including New Order's "The Perfect Kiss," Suburban Lawns' "Gidget Goes to Hell" and Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia."

.

Demme was awarded an honorary degree by Wesleyn University on June 3, 1990.

.

The aftermath of "Beloved": "I feel haunted - in the best sense of the word - by the experience of making this film. It wasn't a difficult shoot; it was a joyful shoot. I still miss the filming so much. And the dailies every night - it was a celebration. There would be a certain point where you'd hear Oprah go, 'I ain't ever seen no movie like this before.'" - Premiere magazine, November 1998

.

"I don't think it's sacrilegious to remake any movie, including a good or even great movie. I think what's sacrilegious is to make a bad movie, whether it's a remake or an original. It's what I always tell my actor friends, anybody who's in this, this [business], you've gotta try to hold out and only do the scripts, do the material that offers you the opportunity to do your best work. Because if you do stuff that doesn't give you that opportunity? Your work's not gonna be good. And you're gonna suffer in the long run from that. So I don't care if it's a remake if it's a great script with parts in it that can attract fantastic actors, God, you know, to make the movie." -- Movie City News, June 28, 2004

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