“Every time I make a movie, I think that it's going to be my last one. I think that no one is going to show up. I always have this sense that they're all going to fail. I am scared to death.” Jerry Bruckheimer
An American film and television producer whose genres cover action, drama, and science fiction, Jerry Bruckheimer became famous as a result of his partnership with the late Don Simpson, with whom he set up Simpson-Bruckheimer Productions in 1983. Together, they defined the trend for the big-budget, action/adventure movies that predominated Hollywood's output throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Many of their associated projects were major box office hits, including Flashdance (1983), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Top Gun (1986), Bad Boys (1995), Crimson Tide (1995), Dangerous Minds (1995) and The Rock (1996), which became their last venture together. Upon the death of Simpson, Bruckheimer continued to score many hits on his own, such as Con Air (1997), Armageddon (1998), Enemy of the State (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001), National Treasure (2004) and most notably, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and At World's End (2007). The award-winning producer also ventured into television where he has developed such high-profile shows as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000-present) and the spin-offs “CSI: Miami” (CBS, 2002-present) and “CSI: New York” (2004-present), “Cold Case” (2003-present) as well as “Close to Home” (2005-present). He even took home four Emmy awards and a PGA Golden Laurel Award for his efforts in the successful reality game series “The Amazing Race” (2001). Bruckheimer's achievement in creating numerous box office hits has given him the nickname Mr. Blockbuster.
As for his private life, Bruckheimer has been married twice. He and present wife Linda Bruckheimer have an adoptive daughter named Alexandra.
The Who Fan
Childhood and Family:
An only child, Jerome Leon Bruckheimer, professionally known as Jerry Bruckheimer, was born on September 21, 1945, in Detroit, Michigan, to Jewish immigrants from Germany. His father was a manager for an exclusive clothing store and his mother was an accountant. Dyslexic, Jerry had difficulty reading as a student and developed an interest in photography. Using old cameras from his affluent uncle, he began taking pictures at age six and printing his work when in high school. He won several awards from Kodak and National Scholastics. After graduating from Mumford High School in Michigan, Jerry enrolled at the University of Arizona, where he started studying dentistry, but soon switched gears to psychology. After working in New York City, he headed to Hollywood to launch his producing career.
After divorcing first wife Bonnie, Jerry lived with ex-magazine editor Linda Balahoutis until marrying her in 1993. He has a stepdaughter named Alexandra. Jerry is a big admirer of the band The Who. In addition to his resident in Ojai, south of Santa Barbara, he owns a 1500 acre farm in Kentucky.
Producer of Pirates of the Caribbean
After college, Detroit native Jerry Bruckheimer relocated to New York City where he got his first job as a mail room employee at the BBD&O Agency and eventually began to work in commercial producing. Inspired by a colleague who forged a career making movies in Hollywood, he decided to do the same. In the early 1970s, Bruckheimer headed to Los Angeles, California, to begin a professional career in producing.
His first producing gig came when Bruckheimer joined director Dick Richards for the western The Culpepper Cattle Company (1972), where he served as an associate producer. In 1973, he met his future producing partner, Don Simpson, at a screening of The Harder They Come, at Warner Bros. They soon became friends and Simpson even provided shelter for Bruckheimer at his Laurel Canyon home when Bruckheimer divorced his first wife.
After producing Farewell, My Lovely (1975), with which Bruckheimer made his mark as a first time producer, and March or Die (1977), Bruckheimer eventually joined forces with Simpson for the Richard Gere defining drama American Gigolo (1980), directed by Paul Schrader. The two, however, did not form their own producing company, Simpson-Bruckheimer Productions, until 1983, which subsequently signed exclusive five-year production deals with Paramount Pictures. Meanwhile, Bruckheimer produced three films, including Garry Marshall's Young Doctors in Love (1982), and made his debut as an executive producer with the remake of Cat People (also 1982).
Simpson-Bruckheimer's first project, Flashdance, a drama about a Pittsburgh woman who works as a steel worker and an exotic dancer, was released in 1983 and went on to become a box office sensation by grossing over $90 million with an original budget of only $7.5 million. The success subsequently put the duo on the map. Although their follow-up, Thief of Hearts (1984), a cheap and cheesy thriller starring Steven Bauer, was easily unmemorable, they were able to establish a reputation as kings of Hollywood with the subsequent effort Beverly Hills Cop (1984), which made Eddy Murphy a star. Made on a modest budget of only $14 million, the Martin Brest-helmed movie collected $235 million at the box office. The massive hit Top Gun (1986), an action/drama about a rebel fighter pilot (played by Tom Cruise) who enrolls at the top flight school and falls for his instructor (played by Kelly McGillis), further cemented their status as top producers. The film also successfully launched Tom Cruise as the biggest star worldwide.
Bruckheimer and Simpson produced the sequel Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987, and although it was considered less victorious than its predecessor, the producers were given a new production contract with Paramount. Unfortunately, the studio ended the affiliation at the end of 1990 following the release of Days of Thunder (1990), an unadulterated disaster shot with a big $70 million budget. In early 1991, Bruckheimer and Simpson signed a non-exclusive, five-year, five-picture deal with Disney subsidiary, Hollywood Pictures.
In 1995, Bruckheimer and Simpson appeared to be in a rotation with three successful pictures under their belts: the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence cop comedy Bad Boys, the Tony Scott directed thriller Crimson Tide, which starred Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, and the biopic Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as the inner-city schoolteacher Louanne Johnson. On the contrary, the off-screen relationship between Bruckheimer and Simpson became less amicable as a result of Simpson’s drug addiction. Bruckheimer finally announced the formal breakup of Simpson-Bruckheimer Productions in December 1995. Less than a month later, Simpson was found dead at his Bel Air mansion due to natural causes. The Rock, the last movie Bruckheimer produced with Simpson, was released in June 1996 to a strong box office success. Directed by Michael Bay, the movie re-launched Sean Connery as an action star and creating the persona for Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage.
Venturing out on his own, Bruckheimer formed Jerry Bruckheimer Films in 1997 and produced his first film later that same year. Con Air (1997), starring his favorite Cage as a reluctant hero and directed by Simon West, which was a blockbuster hit. He followed that up with the summer box office hit Armageddon (1998), a disaster flick that reunited him with Bruce Willis and paired him for the first time with Ben Affleck, and the acclaimed fall techno-thriller Enemy of the State (1998). The producer also branched out to the small screen where he was the executive producer of the 1996-1997 ABC series “Dangerous Minds,” based on Bruckheimer's 1995 film of the same name, and the 1997 syndicated series “SOF: Special Ops Force/Soldier of Fortune, Inc.” He also executive produced the television films Max Q: Emergency Landing (1998) and Swing Vote (1999). By the late 1990s, Bruckheimer's outstanding achievement in production won him two ShoWest Convention awards for International Box Office Achievement (Special Award) and Producer of the Year.
Still on the TV, Bruckheimer found himself retuning to the action genre with the 2000 CBS fall drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” an executive producing task that he still holds now. The same year, he also had a series of impressive big screen projects, including Gone in 60 Seconds, again starring Cage, and Remember the Titans, a powerful inspirational film starring Denzel Washington as a football coach coping with racial conflict. He produced the big-budget epic Pearl Harbor (2001), which reached nearly $200 million in domestic box office sales alone, the Ridley Scott directed film Black Hawk Down (2001), which was well-received by critics, and the critically and commercial flop Bad Company (2002), helmed by Joel Schumacher.
Bruckheimer created the CBS reality game show “The Amazing Race” in 2001, in which 11 teams race around the world performing various tasks in a pursuit to bring home $1 million. The show was an immediate hit and has since spawned many sequels. For his effort, Bruckheimer shared four consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program (from 2003 to 2006), and a 2005 PGA Golden Laurel for Television Producer of the Year. He went on to make quality TV by producing the crime/drama series “Without A Trace” (CBS, 2002-present) and the spin-off “CSI: Miami” (CBS, 2002-present).
Next, Bruckheimer lent his producing talents for such big screen features as Kangaroo Jack (2003), a dopey kids’ comedy panned by critics for being too stupid, the based-on-true story Veronica Guerin (2003) and the high-impact action installment Bad Boys II (2003). However, it was the Gore Verbinski directed Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) that brought Bruckheimer both commercial and critical victory. Starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, the movie received five Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor in a Leading Role for Depp, and numerous other honors, and took in a respectable bounty at the box office. Meanwhile, on the small screen, he produced the short-lived Fox series “Skin” (2003), the more well-liked “Cold Case” (CBS, 2003-present) and the soon-canceled reality series “Profiles from the Front Lines” (ABC, 2003), which followed U.S. Troops when they fought terrorism in Afghanistan, the Philippines and South America.
Bruckheimer again teamed up with Nicolas Cage for the 2004 film National Treasure, which performed well at the box office despite being ignored by critics, but faced a rare dud with his next feature, King Arthur (2004). In the meantime, he also developed another TV spin-off, “CSI: New York” (2004-present), that like its predecessors, proved to be a strong ratings winner. Bruckheimer's next TV projects included “E-Ring” (NBC, 2005-2006), “Just Legal” (WB, 2005-2006), “Close to Home” (CBS, 2005-present) and “Justice” (2006).
2006 saw the producer make the sport-themed Glory Road (2006), starring Josh Lucas as the Texas Western coach Don Haskins, and Tony Scott's Deja Vu (2006), starring Denzel Washington. He also produced the much-anticipated sequels Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End (2007). The latter even gave him a 2007 Rembrandt for Beste Buitenlandse Film. Bruckheimer's upcoming projects are National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), the sequel to the 2004 National Treasure, starring Nicolas Cage, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2009), based on a video game of the same name.
Rembrandt : Beste Buitenlandse Film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 2007
PGA Golden Laurel: Lifetime Achievement in Television, 2007
Emmy: Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, “The Amazing Race,” 2006
Emmy: Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, “The Amazing Race,” 2005
PGA Golden Laurel: Television Producer of the Year Award in Non-Fiction Television, “The Amazing Race,” 2005
Emmy: Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, “The Amazing Race,” 2004
National Board of Review: Producers Award, 2004
Emmy: Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, “The Amazing Race,” 2003
ShoWest Convention: Producer of the Year, 1999
ShoWest Convention: Special Award, International Box Office Achievement, 1998