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Directed by Ted Demme

Getty / Ron Galella Ltd.

Directed by Ted Demme

Before his death ten years ago today, Ted Demme directed and produced some of the great sleeper hits of the '90s and early 2000s.

One of Demme's earliest gigs was launching the comedy career of chain-smoking ranter Dennis Leary. Demme directed a series of short black-and-white spots in which Leary railed on pop-culture topics from Cindy Crawford to the royal family to R.E.M. This grew into an ongoing collaboration between Leary and Demme, with Demme directing Leary in comedy specials No Cure for Cancer and Dennis Leary: Lock 'n Load, as well as feature films like Monument Ave. and The Ref, in which jewelry thief Leary winds up playing marriage counselor to combative couple Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis.



The dysfunctional Christmas tale The Ref didn't do a lot at the box office, but it's gained a cult following over the years. The same is true of one of Demme's production turns, Rounders, starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro and John Malkovich. Poker's surge of popularity helped turn the movie from a box-office slump into a poker-world favorite.






Perhaps Demme's biggest hit was one of his last movies – Blow, which he both produced and directed. The edgy action flick featured Penelope Cruz and Ray Liotta and was enhanced by a great performance from star Johnny Depp.






Written by Linnea Crowther