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Robert Jonathan Demme (born February 22, 1944) is an Americanmarker filmmaker, producer and screenwriter.

Personal life

Demme was born in Baldwinmarker, New Yorkmarker, the son of Dorothy Demme and a public relations executive father. Demme has three children: Ramona, Brooklyn, Josephine. He is a graduate of the University of Floridamarker. He also was the uncle of director Ted Demme, who died in 2002. He is currently a member of the steering committee of the Friends of the Apollo in Oberlin, Ohio, along with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman.


Demme broke into feature film working for exploitation film producer Roger Corman from 1971 to 1976, co-writing and producing Angels Hard as They Come and The Hot Box, then directing three films (Caged Heat, Crazy Mama, Fighting Mad) for Corman's studio New World Pictures. After Fighting Mad, Demme moved on to direct the comedy film Handle with Care for Paramount Pictures in 1977. The film was well-received by critics, but received little promotion, and performed poorly at the box office.

Demme's 1980 film Melvin and Howard did not have a wide release, but received widespread critical acclaim, and led to the signing of Demme to direct the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell star vehicle Swing Shift. A big-budget production intended to be a major prestige picture for Warner Bros. as well as a commercial breakthrough for Demme, Swing Shift was compromised by creative differences, with Demme renouncing the film. The film was released in May 1984, and was generally panned by critics and neglected by moviegoers.

After Swing Shift, Demme started making documentary films, making a notable series of concert films with Stop Making Sense and Swimming to Cambodia.

In 1991, Demme won the Academy Award for The Silence of the Lambs—one of only three films to win all the major categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress). Demme directed an Oscar-winning turn from Tom Hanks in his next feature, Philadelphia.

Since then, Demme's films have included remakes of two popular films: The Truth About Charlie, a remake of Charade that starred Mark Wahlberg in the Cary Grant role; and The Manchurian Candidate, with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.

In 2007, Demme's film Man from Plains, a documentary about former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's book tour in promotion of his book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.

In 2008, the alternative movie Rachel Getting Married was released, which many critics compared to Demme's films of the late 1970s and 1980s. It was included in many 2008 "best of" lists, and received numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress by lead Anne Hathaway.

In the Spring 2010, Demme will direct Family Week, a play by Beth Henley. The play will be produced by MCC Theater and co-star Rosemarie DeWitt and Sarah Jones.

One of his common directorial motifs is to allow characters to look directly into the camera. Demme formed his production company, Clinica Estetico, with producers Edward Saxon and Peter Saraf. They were based out of New York Citymarker for fifteen years.




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