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Jonathan Demme, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Director, Dead at 73

NEW YORK — Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia," and whose Talking Heads documentary "Stop Making Sense" is considered one of the greatest concert films ever, has died. He was 73.

Demme's publicist, Annalee Paulo, said Demme died Wednesday morning in his New York apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanna, and three children. Demme died from complications from esophageal cancer, she confirmed to NBC News.

The Times BFI London Film Festival 2004 - Masterclass - Jonathan Demme and Tak Fujimoto - October 23, 2004
Jonathan Demme during The Times BFI London Film Festival in 2004. Nick Wall / WireImage file

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."

Stars around Hollywood reacted to the death of the filmmaker: