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Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme

Director/Producer Jonathan Demme won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, which received a total of five Oscars, including Best Picture. His most recent feature film as director, 1993's Philadelphia, earned Tom Hanks an Oscar for Best Actor. Demme also directed the Robyn Hitchcock concert film Storefront Hitchcock.

An alumnus of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Demme made his directorial debut with the genre classic Caged Heat (1974). His additional directing credits include Married to the Mob (1988), Swimming to Cambodia (1988), Something Wild (1986), Stop Making Sense (1984), which received the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Documentary, and Melvin and Howard (1980), for which Demme was named Best Director by the New York Film Critics.

Demme served as producer of That Thing You Do! (1996), Philadelphia, Miami Blues (1990), Something Wild, The Hot Box (1972; cowritten with Joe Viola for Roger Corman), and Angels Hard As They Come (1971; also cowritten with Joe Viola for Roger Corman). He executive-produced the films Household Saints (1993), The Silence of the Lambs, Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), and Ulee's Gold (1997).

Demme is well-known as a documentary filmmaker, having directed Cousin Bobby (1991) and the Grammy Award-winning The Making of Sun City (1986). He produced One Foot on a Banana Peel, the Other in the Grave (1993) and Into the Rope (1997).

Demme recently produced Mandela, the Academy Award-nominated biographical documentary of South African President Nelson Mandela.

For television, Demme has directed Beth Henley's A Family Tree, Accumulation with Talking Plus Water Motor, a dance film featuring Trisha Brown, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Who Am I This Time? as well as music videos for the Neville Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Suzanne Vega, KRS-1, Sandra Bernhardt, the Feelies, and UB40, among others. He also produced Women & Men II -- A Domestic Dilemma for HBO and serves as executive producer on HBO's Subway Stories series.

Demme is a founding member of the organization Artists for Democracy in Haiti and produced the album Konbit, a collection of Haitian music, in addition to directing a video for Les Frères Parent. Demme produced the documentaries Haiti: Dreams of Democracy -- Part I (1987; codirected with Jo Menell) and most recently Courage and Pain (1997; directed by Patricia Benoit). He also served as producer on "Haiti: Dreams of Democracy -- Part II -- Tonbé Levé ('Fall Down/Get Up')" (1992).

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Jonathan Demme Facts

OccupationDirector, Producer, Screenwriter
BirthdayFebruary 22, 1944 (79)
BirthplaceBaldwin, Long Island, New York, USA
Awards1992 Academy Awards: Best Director (for The Silence of the Lambs)

Selected Filmography

The Silence of the Lambs
Lonely Ghosts
Stop Making Sense
Rachel Getting Married
Ricki And The Flash
Who Am I This Time?
Married To The Mob
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