Richard Donner, Director Of 'Superman,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'The Goonies,' And More, Dead At 91

Richard Donner, prolific Hollywood director and producer, has died. He was 91.

Donner died Monday, according to his wife, producer Lauren Schuler Donner, and his business manager. No cause of death has been revealed.

Donner directed some of the most iconic movies of the 1970s and '80s, including SupermanThe Goonies, and Lethal WeaponDonner's Superman (starring Christopher Reeve) was the first "modern" superhero film, and is at least partially responsible for the Marvel and DC mega-hits of today. Donner's influence on modern cinema is undeniable. Donner's films introduced us to superhero movie structure, the buddy cop genre as we know it today, and so much more.

Superheroes, Buddy Cops, and Creepy Kids

Donner's film and television debut came directing his friend Steve McQueen for the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. He would go on to direct for other TV series, including The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In 1975 he directed his first major feature, The Omen, about a creepy kid who just happened to be the Antichrist. The Omen was a massive box-office success, which gave Donner the opportunity to tackle transferring the Superman comics to celluloid.

Superman was an international hit, spawning several sequels. Along with Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of a Third Kind and George Lucas's Star Wars: A New HopeSuperman is credited as helping to create the concept of a sci-fi blockbusterWonder Woman director Patty Jenkins worked closely with Donner's longtime collaborator Geoff Johns on Wonder Woman, and they both credited Donner's Superman as a major influence.

Donner's 1985 film, The Goonies, which he produced with Spielberg, is a beloved classic that many childhood fans won't let die. And its fandom has a long reach: director Adam F. Goldberg wanted to make Goonies 2 happen as recently as last October, a testament to the film's staying power across generations.

Donner also directed all four films in the Lethal Weapon film series, which helped set the template for the buddy cop genre. Lethal Weapon spawned three sequels and a television series, and has been referenced in everything from Godzilla vs. Kong to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The Lethal Weapon franchise has grossed close to a billion dollars worldwide, and has inspired countless filmmakers with its blend of action and comedy.

Donner's other films include the Bill Murray holiday hum-bug classic Scrooged, as well as the cowboy comedy Maverick. He also directed AssassinsTimelineRadio Flyer, and 16 Blocksand more. He will be missed.