'Silence of the Lambs' Oscar-Winning Director Jonathan Demme Dies at Age 73

'Silence of the Lambs' Oscar-Winning Director Jonathan Demme Dies at Age 73

'Silence of the Lambs' Oscar-Winning Director Jonathan Demme Dies at Age 73

Indiewire reports that Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme, perhaps best known for helming 1991's "Silence of the Lambs," passed away this morning in New York. He was 73. A source close to the family told the website that he died due to esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease.

Demme rose to prominence in the 1980s with his comedy films Melvin and Howard (1980), Swing Shift (1984), Something Wild (1986) and Married to the Mob (1988). He became best known for directing The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He later directed the acclaimed films Philadelphia (1993) and Rachel Getting Married (2008).

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. He then moved on to directing, with three films (Caged Heat, Crazy Mama, Fighting Mad) for Corman's studio New World Pictures. After Fighting Mad, Demme directed the comedy film Citizens Band (later retitled Handle with Care) for Paramount Pictures in 1977.

Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski