Ted Demme biography
The Ref Director
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
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
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.
Ted Demme Filmography
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