Richard Donner’s Cause of Death Revealed

Richard Donner, the prolific Hollywood director and producer known for his work on the Lethal Weapon films, Superman The Movie, The Goonies, and countless others, died from heart disease and heart failure. More than a month after his wife, Lauren Schuler Donner, and his business manager confirmed his Monday, July 5 death at the age of 91, Donner’s death certificate was released.

At the time of Donner’s passing, little was revealed in regards to the circumstances surrounding the Hollywood icon’s death. Neither his wife or his manager hinted at a possible cause of death. His death certificate, obtained by TMZ, listed Donner’s cause of death as cardiopulmonary failure. It says that Donner died at his home in West Hollywood on the morning of July 5. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is listed as an underlying cause of his passing.

Donner’s death certificate also gives a nod to his expansive career in film and television, as it notes he was a film director for 65 years. He got his start in the industry in the late 1950s with his start as a director on television. He began directing films in the 1960s and scored his breakthrough directing effort with the original The Omen in 1976. He went on to Superman (1978), with his other credits including The Goonies (1985), Ladyhawke (1985), Scrooged (1988), and his final film, 16 Blocks (2006).

Given his expansive career and his massive impact on Hollywood, Donner’s passing led to an outpouring of tributes. Danny Glover, who worked with Donner on the late ’80s and early ’90s Lethal Weapon film series, said Lethal Weapon “was one of the proudest moments of my career” and said he “will forever be grateful to him for that Dick genuinely cared about me, my life and my family.” Glover added, “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’s fellow director Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story for The Goonies, also mourned his passing, saying that Donner “had such a powerful command of his movies, and was so gifted across so many genres.” He added that “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.”

Donner’s other credits include Timeline, Omen III: The Final Conflict, The Lost Boys, and many others. Although he was never nominated for an Oscar, he did receive a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008 alongside his wife, whom he married in 1986 and whom he is survived by.

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