Jonathan Demme dead; 'Silence of the Lambs' director was 73

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Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of “Silence of the Lambs,” died on Wednesday in his New York City apartment of complications from cancer. He was 73.

A rep for Demme told Fox News, “Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children. He died from complications from esophageal cancer and is survived by his children Ramona, age 29, and her husband James Molloy, Brooklyn, age 26, and Jos, age 21.”

Demme’s funeral will be private.

“In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Americans For Immigrant Justice in Miami, Fla.,” the rep stated.

Demme broke into moviemaking under the B-movie master Roger Corman in the early 1970s. His eclectic, prodigious body of films included 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs," for which he won the best director Oscar. Other credits include "Something Wild," ''Rachel Getting Married" and the Spalding Grey documentary "Swimming to Cambodia."

He last year released his latest concert film, "Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.