With a line of blockbuster films in Hollywood, this American television and film producer is nicknamed as Mr. Blockbuster. Jerry Bruckheimer is considered to be one of the most prolific producers of all time, with a series of high-grosser movies to his credit. He has given some record-breaking movies to the American cinema, with his distinctive stamp with genres in action, drama, adventure and science fiction. Even though he is known for giving quantity over quality, but he has effectively managed to create a mark with his super-hits, not just on the silver screen, but also on television. An advertising executive by profession, this filmmaker produced a string of huge hits with his buddy and partner Don Simpson, before venturing out individually after the latter’s death. By giving the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise, he won the hearts of millions worldwide depicting a Disney-theme park ride on a wider scale. Through his highly successful movies, he is said to have paved way for many new and aspiring actors and directors. Besides television and film production, he has been actively involved with political contributions and charities.
Childhood & Early Life
Jerry Bruckheimer was born as Jerome Leon Bruckheimer on September 21, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan, as the only child of Jewish-German immigrants.
His upbringing was carried out in a poor household by his salesman father and bookkeeping-cum-housewife mother.
He completed his formal schooling from Mumford High School, after which he moved to the University of Arizona to study psychology and algebra.
He developed an interest in cinema from an early age, which drew him towards photography, evident from the numerous snapshots which won him several prizes.
After college, he took up rewarding advertising jobs in Detroit and New York City, producing some high-quality commercials.
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In the early 1970s, Bruckheimer left his well-paid advertising job to take up a low-paying job to pursue his dream of making it big in the film industry.
His first break came through in 1972 as an associate producer under Dick Richards on ‘The Culpepper Cattle Company’, followed by ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ (1975) and ‘March or Die’ (1977).
It was only through the 1979 ‘American Gigolo’ and 1982 ‘Cat People’ that he started getting noticed. However, it was his ‘Flashdance’, with co-producer Don Simpson, in 1983 from where his journey of delivering hits began.
A series of super-hit films followed where Bruckheimer worked with Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun’ (1986) and ‘Days of Thunder’ (1990) and Eddie Murphy in ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ series, making them superstars of tomorrow.
Bruckheimer and Simpson collaborated to form Simpson-Bruckheimer Productions and signed a long-term deal with Paramount Pictures.
The duo complemented each other very well, with Simpson being known as ‘Mr. Inside’ due to his extensive contacts in Hollywood and Bruckheimer nicknamed as ‘Mr. Outside’, thanks to his filmmaking knowhow and experience.
The duo’s pact with Paramount ended in 1990, followed by another five-year non-exclusive agreement with Hollywood Pictures, a subsidiary of Disney.
In 1995, the Simpson-Bruckheimer pair released another set of big hits, like ‘Dangerous Minds’, ‘Crimson Tide’, and ‘Bad Boys’, thus reiterating their success.
His association with Simpson ended during the production of ‘The Rock’ (1996) due to the latter’s drug issues and his death due to heart failure a month later. Soon after, he launched Jerry Bruckheimer Films and released ‘Con Air’ (1997).
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He tried his hand at television programs, starting off with ‘Soldier of Fortune, Inc.’ which failed to create a mark. However, later, he became successful with the police drama ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ series, in 2001.
He produced the popular FBI missing people drama ‘Without a Trace’, ‘The Forgotten’, ‘Take the Money & Run’ and the Emmy-winning reality game show ‘The Amazing Race’.
In 2003, he produced the highly successful record-breaking ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’, which saw three sequels – ‘Dead Man’s Chest’, ‘At World’s End’ and ‘On Stranger Tides’.
He delivered a string of huge hits with his new venture, some being ‘Armageddon’ (1998), ‘Remember the Titans’ (2000), ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ (2000), ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001), ‘King Arthur’ (2004), and ‘Glory Road’ (2006).
His World War II epic ‘Pearl Harbor’, released in 2001, was a box-office hit grossing over $450 million worldwide, though it received high negative responses.
He produced the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series, along with Walt Disney Pictures, featuring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley, which shattered box-office records and grossed over $3 billion across the world.
He had over ten series telecast on different channels in 2005, a record for any company in Hollywood, of which six were returning while four were newly launched.
Awards & Achievements
The Forbes Celebrity 100 List ranked him at number 42 in 2006, which was later upgraded to 39 in 2007.
He was honored with the ShoWest Producer of the Year award, in 1998.
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He received the David O. Selznick Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Producers Guild, in 2000.
The University of Arizona’s College of Fine Arts bestowed upon him a doctorate degree in fine arts, in 2006.
In 2013, he was inducted on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, on Hollywood Boulevard.
His projects have won 6 Academy awards, 5 Grammy awards, 4 Golden Globe awards, 17 Emmy awards, 4 People’s Choice awards, and several MTV awards.
Personal Life & Legacy
After his divorce to Bonnie Bruckheimer, he married American editor and novelist, Linda Bruckheimer. He, currently, resides in Los Angeles with his wife and stepdaughter, Alexandra.
He established the Jerry Bruckheimer Foundation to serve the society and has been an active supporter of the fight against multiple sclerosis through The Nancy Davis Foundation for MS.
He is said to have given over $50,000 as donation to Republican campaigns and committees, with $5000 on behalf of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain and $25,000 to Mitt Romney Victory Fund, in 2012.
This wealthy American is the owner of an ocean front mansion in Malibu, a luxurious home in Los Angeles, farmhouses in Bloomfield, Kentucky, and Ojai, south of Santa Barbara, along with exclusive classy cars.
His movies are often directed by Tony Scott, Antoine Fuqua, Michael Bay and Jon Turteltaub, and he usually signs Denzel Washington, Nicholas Cage and Steve Buscemi for major roles.