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RICHARD DONNER (Director) is the creative force behind some of the most popular movies of the last 20 years: The Omen, Superman, Free Willy, the Lethal Weapon series and Maverick.

His career started in front of the camera as an actor in Martin Ritt's television production of W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. After this brief stint, Ritt gave him a piece of advice that was to change his life. "Marty told me I'd never make it as an actor because I couldn't take direction,” recalls Donner, "but he thought I could give it, so he offered me a job as his assistant.” Donner continued assisting Ritt and many other great live television directors.

After moving to Los Angeles, he won the assignment of directing his friend Steve McQueen for the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. In 1961, he directed Charles Bronson in X-15, a melodrama about Air Force test pilots. He continued directing such television series as The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Kojak.

During the 1970s, Donner directed several acclaimed movies-of-the-week, and in 1975 he directed his first successful major feature, The Omen, which was released the following year and set a box-office record. He next took on the task of transferring the adventures of the most popular pulp in five decades to film. Under his direction, Superman - The Movie became one of the all-time biggest international hits. Four films followed the success of Superman: Inside Moves, The Toy, starring Jackie Gleason and Richard Pryor; Ladyhawk, (his favorite for many reasons amongst which was falling in love with the producer Lauren Shuler, who later became his wife); and The Goonies, produced with Steven Spielberg. In Lethal Weapon, Donner introduced two cops who would become cinema's most popular crime fighting duo, played by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. Lethal Weapon 2 proved even more successful, and the two stars teamed up for Lethal Weapon 3, released in May of 1992, which went on to become one of the highest grossing pictures of all time, earning more than $150-million.

Donner also produced and directed Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, and the affecting Radio Flyer. He executive produced the thriller The Lost Boys, directed by Joel Schumacher, and served as executive producer on the HBO television series Tales from the Crypt (for which he directed the pilot) and the Saturday morning cartoon of the same name.

Donner executive produced the hit family movies: Free Willy, Free Willy 2 and Free Willy 3. He directed and produced Maverick, starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and James Garner; Assassins, starring Antonio Banderas and Sylvester Stallone; and Conspiracy Theory, starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts.

Lethal Weapon 4, with all the favorites – Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Rene Russo and Joe Pesci – was released in July of 1998, and introduced Chris Rock and Jet Li. The Lethal Weapon quartet has grossed close to a billion dollars.

His film Timeline, based on the Michael Crichton novel, was released in 2004.


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