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Biography #2

Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the most successful producers of all time, is a filmmaker who loves telling a story with fully developed characters who go through a process to learn something. His films take us, his audience, through those same processes, and we leave the theaters enriched by the unforgettable characters, excited by the great stories and intrigued by the new experiences.

So we go back, and keep going back, to the films that begin with the lightning bolt the Bruckheimer films that have grossed billions and have earned their producer the acclaim and respect of his industry and devotion of moviegoers throughout the world.

Bruckheimer has always been a storyteller. He started out with short ones the 60-second tales he created as an award-winning commercial producer in his native Detroit. One of those mini-films, a parody of Bonnie and Clyde he created for Pontiac, was noted for its brilliance in Time Magazine. It also brought the 23-year-old producer to the attention of world-renowned ad agency BBD&O, which lured him to New York.

Four years on Madison Avenue gave him the experience and the confidence to tackle Hollywood, and not yet 30, he was at the helm of memorable films like Farewell, My Lovely and American Gigolo.

Also among those early films was 1983's Flashdance, a film that cliches aside, actually changed lives. It changed Jennifer Beals' life by making her a box office star. It changed its audiences' lives by killing off the jumping jack forever and turning us all into aerobic dancers. Most importantly, it changed Bruckheimer's life by becoming a sleeper hit (grossing $100 million in the U.S. alone) and pairing him with an old acquaintance, producer Don Simpson, who would be his partner for the next 14 years.

As one of the most prolific partnerships in recent motion picture history, Bruckheimer and Simpson produced films that were honored with 15 Academy Award nominations, two Oscars for Best Song, four Grammys, three Golden Globes, two People's Choice Awards for Best Picture and the MTV award for Best Picture of the Decade.

Equally important to Bruckheimer as a creative force was the fact that the films were turning their stars into box office giants. Beverly Hills Cop launched Eddie Murphy's film career and Top Gun made Tom Cruise an international superstar.

Industry acclaim followed box office success. In both 1985 and 1988, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) named Bruckheimer Producer of the Year. Along with Simpson, Bruckheimer was named Motion Picture Showman of the Year in 1988 by the Publicists Guild of America.

By 1995 the team was producing one hit after another. In that year alone, Bruckheimer was responsible for Bad Boys, the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence film that was Columbia Pictures highest grossing movie of the year; Michelle Pfeiffer's acclaimed Dangerous Minds; and Crimson Tide, the Denzel Washington/Gene Hackman adventure that, with Dangerous Minds, topped Hollywood Pictures' box office slate.

In 1996, Bruckheimer produced The Rock starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. The film broke new ground and continued to establish Bruckheimer's tradition of success; with a box office gross of nearly $350 million worldwide; it set the video rental market record as the most-ordered film in history. His casting of the film reestablished Connery as an action star and created that same image for the intellectual Cage. The Rock, which was named Favorite Movie of the Year by NATO, more significantly was Bruckheimer's last movie with Simpson, who died tragically during production.

Now on his own, Bruckheimer followed in 1997 with Con Air, a film that placed Cage in the stratosphere of international action heroes, and grossed over $230 million. It also earned the producer two more Oscar nominations and a fifth Grammy and brought him once more to the attention of the international industry, which last year awarded him the ShoWest International Box Office Achievement Award for his unmatched foreign box office grosses. This year he is being honored by the Producers Guild of America with the David O. Selznick Award for Lifetime Achievement in motion pictures.

Those grosses continued in 1998 with the July release of Touchstone Pictures' Armageddon, the highest-grossing live action film ever to come from the Walt Disney Studios; starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Steve Buscemi. The outer space adventure, directed by Michael Bay, proved to be the biggest movie of 1998, with combined revenues of over $560 million worldwide. (The film's receipts for its first several days in theaters ranked the picture the third largest grossing opening for a July 4th holiday weekend ever.) The film's soundtrack album hit multi-platinum status and spawned a #1 single, I Don't Want to Miss a Thing, for rock star Steven Tyler and Aerosmith. The group's video, which included scenes from the film, debuted on MTV and immediately became the #1 video in America.

With worldwide revenues of over $11 billion in the box office, video and recording receipts, more than any other producer in history, he continues to find and develop the films that will take him into the new millennium.

Bio courtesy Touchstone (01-Jan-2000)


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