DC's Geoff Johns and Marvel's Kevin Feige pay tribute to legendary director Richard Donner

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Two of the heaviest hitters in the world of comic book media universes came together to honor the man who gave them both their starts.

That man would be legendary filmmaker Richard Donner, and the two bigwigs who came out on Wednesday night (June 7) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate his life and career were DC Films co-chairman Geoff Johns and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.

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While both men pursued their dreams in different ways -- Feige worked his way up in the film industry while Johns became one of the world's top comic book writers before getting into movie production -- they are now both in charge of their respective cinematic universes.

And amazingly, they may both owe it all to Donner, who gave Feige and Johns their first jobs in Hollywood right out of college. Both men got their professional start at the Donners' Company, the production outfit headed by Donner and his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men).

Of course, Donner gave them their start in another way as well -- his fifth feature film as a director, Superman (1978), was not only the first modern superhero movie and still one of the best, but its success paved the way, years later, for the current explosion of superhero films we're still in the midst of today (the first X-Men, which the Donners produced in 2000, also played a significant role in that).

Feige said at Wednesday night's tribute, "Superman, the movie, is still, to this day, the archetype of the perfect superhero film origin story. I hope you don't bemoan the fact that that film has inspired all of these movies."

Donner's other influential films include The Omen (1976), all four Lethal Weapon movies, and The Goonies, with numerous stars and filmmakers also getting up at the Goldwyn to sing his praises. When the director himself, now 87, got up to address the crowd, he simply said, "They changed my life; I didn't change theirs."

It's probably safe to say that Richard Donner changed a lot of people's lives, and I'm betting Kevin Feige and Geoff Johns would count themselves in that tally. I wonder if they talked shop after the event was over...

(via Comic Book Movie)