Lauren Shuler Donner, the wife and producing partner of Richard Donner has spoken about his death at the age of 91. Speaking with Deadline, Shuler Donner talked about the love she had for her husband and the outpouring of support she has received from friends, colleagues and fans alike.
Movies In Focus once had the great pleasure of speaking with Donner over the phone for about an hour, talking about his career in Hollywood. He was polite, generous and gracious – everything that Lauren Shuler Donner says here:
“He was a great man. I was a very very lucky woman. But he was very sick, so it was time for him to go.
The love for him coming out is amazing. That’s who he was…he was larger than life and fun and generous, and everybody who knew him loved him, absolutely loved him. I have so many emails and texts — I will never be able to get through them. The outpouring of love. The good news is all this love came out when he was alive, just his attitude and his joie de vivre.
I have this philosophy. I believe that the director’s personality is on the screen. Dick was a big, larger-than-life, generous, happy guy who just wouldn’t get bogged down in anything petty, wouldn’t get bogged down in competition, he was just always personable. If he couldn’t remember your name, he’d call you ‘kid.’ Everybody would say later on, ‘Oh he had a nickname for me. He called me kid,’ but he always made you feel you were very special.
He had a really big heart. He was a big guy, he’d wrap your arms around you. You felt love. You felt the warmth. He was giving, he was caring, he didn’t bother with bullsh*t. He was tough when he had to be tough. His crews loved and respected him. He was a great leader, but he also made it fun for them. He would play pranks on everybody, and they would play pranks on him. Going on the set you took your life into your hands. He found the joy in life and he was hellbent on sharing it. We were together 38 years, but certainly those years before he also lived life – a lot of women, he did a lot of drugs, he did a lot of parties, and he made a lot of good movies.
I will have a memorial in September at Warner Bros when everybody is back from their vacations. I want to make sure everybody who wants to go can go.”