LOVELL — The family of Jonathan Demme, the late, Oscar-winning director of films such as “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,” has donated his 1967 ski boat to next month’s Lovell Historical Society annual auction — an unusual donation with an unusual twist.

The boat’s never been in water outside Kezar Lake.

Kezar Lake Marina co-owner Lee Conary said Demme, who died last year, used to take the Correct Craft Mustang out with his kids, pulling them around on inner tubes. Conary would caution Demme not to hot dog it on the boat’s 51-year-old motor, but he would anyway.

“It was an old antique and Jonathan loved older, antique-y kind of things instead of the new, modern stuff,” Conary said.

The Demme family has a camp on the lake and his widow, Joanne Howard, approached the Historical Society about the donation last fall, President Cathy Stone said.

“This is something that either a Kezar Lake boat aficionado will go after or a Jonathan Demme fan will go after,” Stone said. “It’s a beautiful little boat. It was a wonderful surprise to see such generosity.”


Demme owned the boat, named “Spindrift,” for about 20 years. One other family who lived on the lake owned it before him.

Stone has not had it appraised and is not guessing how much it might bring during the live auction July 22. The annual event is the historical society’s largest fundraiser of the year. In its previous nine years, the highest bid for a single item hit $1,500.

“It’s the first time we’ve had an item of this caliber,” she said.

In addition to in-person bids, the society will take bids via phone and email prior to the event.

“All of this is done on good faith,” Stone said. “If someone calls and sends us an email and says, ‘I’d like to bid no more than X amount of dollars,’ then we get some person out of the audience to bid for them. What we’ve found in the past is it’s very rare that the person who submitted the ‘not to exceed’ bid has to pay as much as they’d anticipated.”

The auction, part of the Historical Society’s Summer Fair with food, music and other events at 551 Main St., will also offer local dining experiences and rides on a private steamboat, among other things.


The winning bidder for Demme’s boat will also get a trailer and “something to establish the provenance,” Stone said.

Stone said she had met Demme and he was “incredibly nice.”

“He was generous to the organizations in town,” she said.

Conary said the boat is in good condition for its age. It has a powder-blue, fiberglass hull with a cream top, two rows of seats and an inboard motor.

“I wouldn’t recommend somebody using it nowadays for tubing and water skiing,” he said. “I used to try to discourage Jonathan from that.”

“You think about the age of the motor, it’s 51 years old, eventually things wear out,” Conary said. “If you want to keep it original, you baby them, you don’t go racing around. Something like that is more for going out on the sunset cruise.”

[email protected]

The family of late, Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme has donated his boat, “Spindrift,” to the Lovell Historical Society’s annual auction fundraiser next month. The 51-year-old Correct Craft Mustang, shown Wednesday, has only been driven on Kezar Lake, where Demme used it go tubing with his children. (Photo courtesy Lee Conary)

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.