Jerry Bruckheimer is an American film and television producer who brought audiences the film Top Gun and the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He achieved great success in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction.
The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Bruckheimer was born on September 21, 1945, in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up poor, living in a tiny house in a blue-collar Jewish section of Detroit. Dropped off at a weekly matinee by his mother and salesman father, Bruckheimer developed a love for the cinema that eventually channeled him toward photography.
He was also an active member of the Stamp Collecting Club.
He received a degree in psychology, and on the strength of a Bonnie and Clyde spoof he helmed for Pontiac.
He graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Arizona with an algebra minor.
He was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
During the 1980s and 1990s, he was a co-producer with Don Simpson of a string of highly successful Hollywood films for Paramount Pictures.
While working with Simpson, Bruckheimer became known as "Mr. Outside" because of his experience with film making. His has produced movies such as: Remember the Titans, Black Hawk Down and the Pirates of the Caribbean series,Armageddon.
Since 1997 he has branched out into television, creating a number of police dramas of which CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has been the most successful. He has also produced the reality game show The Amazing Race.
He embarked on an advertising career in New York City and eventually began producing television commercials, but his interest soon turned to film. In the early 1970s he moved to California and began to work as a producer. Bruckheimer attracted attention with American Gigolo (1979) and had his first major success with Flashdance (1983), which he coproduced with Don Simpson. The two men formed a production company and went on to create a string of blockbusters, including the comedy Beverly Hills Cop (1984), which featured Eddie Murphy, Top Gun (1986), which established Tom Cruise as a star, and Bad Boys (1995). After he and Simpson ended their partnership in 1995, Bruckheimer started producing films on his own, creating such hits as Armageddon (1998), Black Hawk Down (2001), and National Treasure (2004).
In the late 1990s Bruckheimer began producing television series, and in 2000 he had his first success with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, a drama about forensic investigators in Las Vegas. The series was praised for its realism and distinct look, qualities that became trademarks of his programs, and its immense popularity eventually led to spin-offs set in Miami (2002) and New York City (2004). Bruckheimer built on his accomplishments by continuing to create television shows—including other investigative crime dramas and the reality series The Amazing Race—that brought the high production standards and intricate story lines of movies to the small screen. In 2005 he made television history as the first producer to have 10 shows air in a single season (2005–06). In addition to his television work, Bruckheimer continued his career in film. He produced the thriller Déjà Vu (2006) and found immense success with the Pirates of the Caribbean series—The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man’s Chest (2006), At World’s End (2007), and On Stranger Tides (2011). The films, which starred Johnny Depp, were among the highest-grossing movies of all time.
In 2007 donated 29% of his $20,700 in political contributions to Republican candidates. Bruckheimer has donated more than $50,000 to Republican campaigns and committees.
Bruckheimer's philanthropic activities have included publicly supporting the fight against multiple sclerosis via his work with The Nancy Davis Foundation for MS. He has additionally pledged to help various causes by establishing the Jerry Bruckheimer Foundation.However, according to The Smoking Gun, the last time the Jerry Bruckheimer Foundation made a contribution was in 1995, when it gave $9,350 to Van Nuys prep school.
"We are in the transportation business. We transport audiences from one place to another."
At his production house, Bruckheimer Films, he says, “We worship talent, try to associate with as many talented people as possible. Gore (Verbinski). Or Johnny (Depp). They’re both enormously talented.”
"I can stand at the back of the theater and watch an audience laugh, cry, and be moved by what I do. I can entertain people around the world. It's nice when you can give someone that gift."
“I’m always worrying about the next picture, but I never think about success or failure of my movies — you learn more from failures anyway.”
Quotes from others about the person
““He’s incredibly inclusive,” says Bailey of the producer. “One of the things I learned coming into this job is that when a movie is shooting, he’s calling you multiple times every day. And he knows every detail of the picture. It’s never the case that he’s not aware, for instance, that there was bad weather on a shoot, and he’s on top of it and proactive, updating and working with you, hour to hour. So it’s a very shoulder-to-shoulder process.”
Adds Turteltaub: “You know what’s funny, people assume that because he’s a big producer he’s a big huge guy with a lot of bravado and bullish, boisterous tactics and that’s not him at all. He’s quiet, he’s soft, attentive and nice. That’s one of the big surprises; you expect a bully and that’s not him.”
Bailey notes that “obviously, he’s the king of the live-action side, a go-to guy for us. He’s made a lot of the biggest movies in this studio’s history, been a champion and shepherd of live action’s biggest franchise.” That would be “Pirates,” on which Bailey worked with director Rob Marshall, and he says the studio is now getting under way with Pirates 5, which he says will start shooting next year.
“He understands the big idea,” says Bailey about Bruckheimer. “He has an incredible eye for talent, he’s exceptional in many phases of filmmaking, knows how to put a team together and he’s a wizard in post production. Really, it’s an alpha-to-omega skill set.””