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Richard Donner, director of Superman, Lethal Weapon and The Goonies, dies at 91

He was "the greatest Goonie of all," says Steven Spielberg.

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Richard Donner (fourth from left) attended a 25th anniversary Goonies reunion at Warner Bros. Studios in 2010.

Getty Images/Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Richard Donner, the director behind huge hits like Lethal Weapon, Superman and The Goonies, has died at age 91. 

He made his feature film debut as a director with The Omen, the classic horror movie. But Donner went on to direct one of the first significant superhero movies: Superman, starring Christopher Reeves and Marlon Brando.

Donner is perhaps most famous for his work on the Lethal Weapon series, which helped establish the template for the buddy cop movie. Lethal Weapon grossed $120 million on a $15 million budget and kickstarted the memorable franchise, perhaps peaking with the sequel, Lethal Weapon 2, released in 1989. It was the third most successful movie released that year, behind Batman and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. 

"Dick genuinely cared about me, my life and my family," actor Danny Glover, who was directed by Donner, said in a statement sent to Variety. "We were friends and loved each other far beyond collaborating for the screen and the success that the Lethal Weapon franchise brought us. I will so greatly miss him."  

Donner also directed cult classic, The Goonies, launching the careers of stars like Sean Astin and Josh Brolin.

"Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and -- of course -- the greatest Goonie of all," director Steven Spielberg said in a statement to Variety. 

Donner was also a successful producer. His production company, The Donners' Company, helped launch the X-Men franchise back in 2000.

His wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, did not disclose the cause of death.  

Correction, July 6: The spelling of Steven Spielberg's first name has been fixed.