Ted Demme Biography

Ted Demme photo

Born: October 26, 1964
Died: January 14, 2002


Birth Name: Edward Demme

Date of Birth: October 26, 1964

Date of Death: January 14, 2002

A native of the Big Apple, Demme, nephew of director Jonathan Demme, began his career at MTV working as a production assistant.

He spent the next seven years producing and directing the popular Yo! MTV Raps, as well as directing music videos for singers like Bruce Springsteen. He also helped launch the career of comedienne Denis Leary by producing his MTV commercials and directed Leary's No Cure for Cancer television special.

In 1993, he left MTV and started working on feature films.

His debut film Who's the Man? included guest appearances by over 60 major rap artists. His next feature starred his old friend Denis Leary. The Ref, which also starred Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis, was about a thief trying to escape a small town on Christmas Eve only to find he must escape a dysfunctional family first.

The comedy was a hit, with strong performances from the stars and it placed Demme on the hollywood map.

His next film, Beautiful Girls, featuring an all-star cast, didn't fair as well as the Leary comedy, but it did see him nominated for a Golden Seashell by the San Sebastián International film Festival.

Demme popped back into television for the next few years directing series like Gun, specials like Denis Leary: Lock 'N' Load and telefilms like Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground (worked on with his uncle).

In 1996 his production company Spanky Pictures produced A Lesson Before Dying which won him an Emmy.

He returned to feature work with the independent film Monument Ave., followed by the comedy Life, starring Eddie Murphy.

On January 14, 2002, Ted Demme collapsed and died of a heart attack after playing in a celebrity basketball game in Los Angeles. He was 38.


Blow (2001)
Life (1999)
Monument Ave. (1999)
Beautiful Girls (1996)
The Ref (1994)
Who's the Man? (1993)

Change Location