Ted Demme: Click Here For Ted's Biography
Ted Demme: Click Here For Ted's Filmography
Ted Demme, thanks to his uncle's (Jonathan Demme - Silence of the Lambs) more famous name, always seemed to receive the pat-on-the-head treatment from the critics, as if his work should apologize for not being as serious as Jonathan's.
First off, Beautiful Girls, although a great comedy, was great in part to the details and moments the characters share when not spitting out punch line after punch line. An underrated film, as is Demme's too brief career.
At the age of 38 following a celebrity basketball game at the private Crossroads School, Demme collapsed. He was rushed to the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in full cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead shortly after (January 13, 2002).
Ted Demme started his career back in the late 80's producing MTV's "Yo! MTV Raps" where he became associated with Denis Leary (whom he was to work with quite a lot in the coming years. In 1992 Ted made his film debut directing a short film called "The Bet" a drama about two brothers running a New York deli.
He followed up his short with a full-length feature, the hip-hop comedy Who's the Man? which was an offshoot of the "Yo! MTV Raps". A modest hit with a cameo by Denis Leary who would star in his follow-up film, the acerbic The Ref. Although technically a box-office flop (costing $11 million and grossing $11.3 this has since been re-discovered on cable by a growing fan base and watched faithfully every year as if it were the 'anti' It's A Wonderful Life.
In 1996 Demme then directed what I consider his finest film, the underrated and under seen Beautiful Girls. An ensemble film featuring Matt Dillon, Mira Sorvino, Rosie O'Donnell, Natalie Portman, Noah Emmerich, Lauren Holly, Uma Thurman and Timothy Hutton this film performed slightly better at the box-office and garnered some solid, if not hesitant reviews from critics.
Demme continued working, returning to TV to work on some episodes of Robert Altman's Gun, one that garnered a cult following. Each episode followed the path of a single gun throughout history, telling the fates of those who own it. In 1997 Denis Leary and Demme re-teamed for another stand-up tape called Lock N' Load. In 1999 Demme shot the film Life with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.
In 1999 Demme came to Television on yet another 'different' kind of show, one that would last even less time than Robert Altman's Gun series but would go down as the turning point for critics in Demme's life. For once after viewing his work the word was strong, the critics rallied behind Action as a gutsy, adult minded look at Hollywood that was beyond funny, it was real and mean and gave the public everything they believed about Hollywood as if it were fact.
And then it was cancelled. Hopefully, with the advent of DVD, this brilliant show will be released as a box-set and re-discovered.
His final film, Blow, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz would tell story of George Jung, the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970's. Made for under $30 million it more than doubled this at the box-office and Demme had firmly established himself as a man who could tackle almost any genre and find a way to make it motor on-screen.
Prior to his death Demme was preparing to direct a thriller titled Nautica starring Ewan McGregor and Heath Ledger. He is survived by his wife, Amanda Scheer-Demme, a music supervisor for films such as Erin Brockovich and Blow.
Copyright© Staffwriter: Rob Paul
Ted Demme Filmography
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