Photo of Jonathan Demme Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme, the offbeat director of one of the best and most controversial films of the 1990s, was born Feb. 22, 1944, in Long Island, N.Y., and began as a cameraman and film critic. He "interned" at American International Pictures, working his way up into the director spot on the B movie Caged Heat (1974).

Demme went further upscale with Last Embrace (1979) and made films in the '80s admired by critics if not, by and large, the public (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild). His moody, close-up directing style paid off with 1991's The Silence of the Lambs, the first suspense thriller to win the Best Picture Oscar (along with Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Director honors).

Demme directed Tom Hanks to an Oscar in Philadelphia (1993), the first major-studio AIDS drama, and guided Oprah Winfrey in Beloved (1998). In 2004, he remade the 1962 classic The Manchurian Candidate.

Jonathan Demme in Ricki and the Flash

Ricki and the Flash

2015 PG-13

Abandoning her family to chase -- and ultimately attain -- her dream of rock stardom, guitarist Ricki Rendazzo returns years later to try to mend fences. Unfortunately, her estranged sons and daughter want little to do with her ... at first.

  • Jonathan Demme in Philadelphia Philadelphia
  • Jonathan Demme in The Silence of the Lambs The Silence of the Lambs
  • Jonathan Demme in That Thing You Do! That Thing You Do!
  • Jonathan Demme in The Manchurian Candidate The Manchurian Candidate
  • Jonathan Demme in Neil Young Journeys Neil Young Journeys
  • Jonathan Demme in Neil Young: Heart of Gold Neil Young: Heart of Gold
  • Jonathan Demme in Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
  • Jonathan Demme in Corman's World Corman's World
  • Jonathan Demme in Something Wild Something Wild
  • Jonathan Demme in Rachel Getting Married Rachel Getting Married
  • Jonathan Demme in Crazy Mama Crazy Mama
  • Jonathan Demme in Beloved Beloved
  • Jonathan Demme in Married to the Mob Married to the Mob
  • Jonathan Demme in Melvin and Howard Melvin and Howard
  • Jonathan Demme in Who Am I This Time? Who Am I This Time?
  • Jonathan Demme in A Master Builder A Master Builder
  • Jonathan Demme in Swimming to Cambodia Swimming to Cambodia
  • Jonathan Demme in Subway Stories Subway Stories
  • Jonathan Demme in Trisha Brown: Early Works 1966-1979 Trisha Brown: Early Works 1966-1979
  • Jonathan Demme in Caged Heat Caged Heat
  • Jonathan Demme in Storefront Hitchcock Storefront Hitchcock
  • Jonathan Demme in The Agronomist The Agronomist
  • Jonathan Demme in Directors: Life Behind the Camera Directors: Life Behind the Camera
  • Jonathan Demme in Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains
  • Jonathan Demme in Wholphin: Issue 10 Wholphin: Issue 10