|Born||Edward Kern Demme
October 26, 1963
New York, New York
|Died||January 13, 2002
Santa Monica, California
|Occupation||Director, producer, actor|
|Spouse(s)||Amanda Demme (1994–2002)|
Early life and career
Demme was born in New York City, the son of Gail (Kern) and Frederick Rogers Demme. He grew up in Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York and attended South Side Senior High School. He graduated from SUNY-Cortland in 1985. His media career likely began with a radio show at WSUC-FM (SUNY-Cortland) in Cortland, New York, the show was a mix of comedy and talk radio with the usual sidekick, as well as some music and was widely listened to on and off campus.
Demme was the nephew of film producer and director Jonathan Demme. His career had modest beginnings—starting as a production assistant at MTV, he later became a producer in the On-Air Promotions Department and created the cable network's seminal hip-hop show Yo! MTV Raps and directed other projects for them, including the infamous black-and-white rants starring then-unknown chain-smoking comedian Denis Leary.
Over the course of his career, he established a group of actors that he chose to work with on more than one occasion. The most frequently used of these was Denis Leary, who he directed as a lead or star in No Cure for Cancer, The Ref, Denis Leary: Lock 'n Load, and Monument Ave. Leary also produced the 2001 crime drama film Blow which starred Johnny Depp as George Jung and was directed by Demme. He directed Eddie Murphy in the 1999 film Life. Other actors he frequently used included:
- Noah Emmerich in Beautiful Girls, Monument Ave., Life, and (a cut scene in) Blow
- Max Perlich in Beautiful Girls and Blow
- Adam LeFevre in The Ref and Beautiful Girls
- John Benjamin Hickey in The Bet and The Ref
Demme was married to Amanda Scheer, with whom he had two children. Scheer later opened several popular Los Angeles bars, including Teddy's at the Roosevelt Hotel, named in honor of her late husband.
On Sunday, January 13, 2002, while playing a celebrity basketball game, Demme collapsed and died of a heart attack which may have been related to cocaine later found in his system during an autopsy. Actor Michael Rapaport was one of the participants in the game, and missed a taping of the IFC television series Dinner for Five, as discussed on season 1 episode 5 and season 1 episode 7 of that series.
He was cremated, and his ashes were given to his family.
Much of one edition of the IFC program Dinner for Five was given over to a description of Demme's last night and fond reminiscences about his life, mostly by Denis Leary and the show's host Jon Favreau. This touched on Demme's being a fan of the Green Bay Packers and his fondness for playing practical jokes.
At the 2002 Golden Globe awards show, one week following Demme's death, Kevin Spacey wore a picture of Demme on his suit jacket. He was also in the 74th Academy Awards In Memoriam tribute that was also presented by Kevin Spacey.
The 2003 album Blackberry Belle, by The Twilight Singers led by Greg Dulli, was written in tribute to director Ted Demme, Dulli's close friend. Dulli had been working on another project, titled Amber Headlights (which would later see the light of day in 2005), but abandoned those sessions due to Demme's death. The recordings which followed, fueled in part by the memory of Demme, resulted in Blackberry Belle.
Awards and nominations
|1996||San Sebastián International Film Festival||Nominated||Golden Shell||Beautiful Girls|
|1999||Emmy Award||Won||Outstanding Made for Television Movie||A Lesson Before Dying (Shared with Robert Benedetti, Ellen Krass, and Joel Stillerman)|
|2001||Nominated||Outstanding Nonfiction Special||A Decade Under the Influence (Shared with Alison Palmer Bourke, Caroline Kaplan, Jerry Kupfer, Gini Reticker, and Jonathan Sehring)|
|2001||Karlovy Vary International Film Festival||Nominated||Crystal Globe||Blow|
|2003||National Board of Review of Motion Pictures||Nominated||William K. Everson Film History Award||A Decade Under the Influence (Shared with Richard LaGravenese)|
|2003||Sundance Film Festival||Nominated||Grand Jury Prize||A Decade Under the Influence (Shared with Richard LaGravenese)|
In popular culture
- "Ted Demme". London: The Independent. January 17, 2002. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
- "Ted Demme, 38, Director for TV And for Movies, Including 'Blow'". The New York Times. January 16, 2002.
- Susman, Gary (January 14, 2002). "He Was the Man". ew.com. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
- Baltin, Steve (June 23, 2005). "Invitations are being sent". The L.A. Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
- "Demme took cocaine, says coroner". BBC News. February 3, 2002. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
- Andy Taylor-Fabe (2002-01-15). "Cardiac arrest claims life of Blow director Ted Demme". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
- Harris, Beth. "Awards return glitz to Hollywood". Chicago Tribune.