Richard Donner

A former off-Broadway actor who began directing commercials and industrial films in the late 1950s, Richard Donner went on to become one of the top-grossing directors in the 1970s and 1980s before tapering off later in his career. After directing numerous episodes of top shows like "The Twilight Zone" (CBS, 1959-1964), "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC, 1964-68) and "Kojak" (CBS, 1973-78), Donner achieved critical and commercial success with his genre-defining horror movie, "The Omen" (1976), widely considered to be the best of its kind. He followed up with the epic "Superman: The Movie" (1978), which, after a difficult production that resulted in his firing while shooting "Superman II" (1980), became a huge box office hit while setting the bar for all other comic book-based movies to follow. After a few critical and financial flops like "Inside Moves" (1980) and "The Toy" (1982), Donner directed the cult favorite adventure, "The Goonies" (1985), before breaking the mold again - this time in the buddy action genre - with "Lethal Weapon" (1987), which spawned three sequels over the next decade. Throughout his career, Donner remained a true original that fans and colleagues held in high regard.