Jerry Bruckheimer was born 9/21/45 in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona.
He made commercials in Detroit. One, 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 ad agency BBD&O, which lured him to New York. After four years on Madison Avenue, he moved to Hollywood.
He produced 1972's The Culpepper Cattle Company. He joined with George Pappas to reammke Farewell My Lovely (1975). He produced 1980's American Gigolo.
In 1983, Simpson and Bruckheimer announced their partnership. Their first movie was the hit Flashdance.
"Bruckheimer is the one to really watch out for," says a veteran industry observer to Charles Fleming. "He'll stab you in the back. Simpson at least will stab you in the chest." (High Concept, pg. 6)
Jerry lived with former magazine editor Linda Balahoutis until marrying her in 1993. She was a driving force behind Jerry's 1995 split from Don Simpson.
After Don's death, Jerry grew tired of questions about Don. He didn't like people assuming he was Don Simpson's double. At the same time, in some interviews (6/25/97 interview with Rick Lyman of NY Times), Jerry couldn't stop talking about Simpson.
Dale Pollock writes in the Los Angeles Times, 11/18/84
Said one executive who pleaded for anonymity, "Don and Jerry tend to be credit-grabbers, and the idea that they don't need anyone but themselves may come back to haunt them."
Simpson: "Ask us why we are not of the old school, and not of the new school, but of our own school, the school of film making, not producing. We're not producers, we're film makers."
"We put together all the elements," said the soft-spoken Bruckheimer, who usually only speaks when Simpson has paused to catch his breath. "We decide what aesthetic is right for a picture.
"I've worked with other directors and seen how they operate, and in my mind, we operate totally differently. We are as much a part of the process as the director. We don't just step back and let the director come in and say, 'I want to hire so and so.' A lot of producers say, "Fine, go ahead and do it.' We'll say no."
From the 7/8/91 Newsweek:
Their act [BBC series Naked Hollywood] seems to have appalled blockbuster producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, the "stars" of the segment on producers. They were so upset they succeeded in preventing that episode from being aired by A&E. Vivisectionists of la-la land like Nathanael West and S. J. Perelman would drop their scalpels could they see Simpson and Bruckheimer, sitting side by side, their legs crossed at precisely parallel angles, speak of themselves as the "right brain, left brain" team. Don says: "Jerry has, like Scott Fitzgerald said, the ability to hold the entire equation of movemaking in his mind." Jerry responds: "Don's a real big picture guy." The dynamic duo are referred to as "auteur-producers," and we see them on the set of "Days of Thunder" auteuring the hell out of poor director Tony Scott. In their petulant rage at how they come off, Simpson and Bruckheimer...have lost their sense of humor. They are actually rather engaging chaps, in a Doonesbury kind of way, as they swagger through a world where you either swagger or grovel.
Bernard Weinraub writes for the New York Times 3/11/94:
Once known as bad boys with a taste for sleek black cars, parties, high living and the kind of rat-a-tat patter usually heard in David Mamet plays about Hollywood, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bruckheimer are certainly more subdued (if just as vain) than they were in the old days.
The two men give conflicting accoutns of their ages but are in their late 40s.
"Don's strength is the story and script; he has the ability to recognize a great idea," said Ms. [Dawn] Steel, a friend of the team's. "Jerry has the eye for detail, for the physical side of the film, for the set and what's going on there."
What happened to Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bruckheimer was, in some ways, predictable. They were rich and excessive, and not at all shy about it. So many people here, in both the movie business and the press, were waiting for them to fail, hoping they would fail.
They were not disappointed.
The team's style is secretive, relentless and very tough. Also vain. For the photograph for this article, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bruckheimer negotiated firmly with the photographer over the various lenses that would be most flattering.
"We took a lot of lumps, we made mistakes, we did things I would never do again," said Mr. Bruckheimer, sipping a soda. "There's a lot of viciousness in this town. People hear things and embellish it. Most of the things people say about us are untrue. Just lies. We're just two average guys."
Claudia Eller writes in the Los Angeles Times 8/29/95:
Calls to Bruckheimer's office were referred to Anthony Pellicano, a private detective who has been an associate of Simpson's at least since 1989. Pellicano was one of the first people called by Simpson after [44-year old doctor Stephen W.] Ammerman's body was found on his property on the morning of Aug. 15.
Pellicano, who explained that he was speaking on behalf of Simpson and Bruckheimer in his role as handling "crisis PR" for a number of Hollywood figures...said rumors of a possible split between the producers were unfounded.
The hype [over Simpson and Bruckheimer's 1988 deal with Paramount] backfried when their first movie under the deal, "Days of Thunder," which cost more than $50 million and under-performed domestically, received a ton of bad press. Their "alliance" with Paramount ended in a bitter split, and they were branded in the national media as egomaniacal overspenders who personified the excess of the '80s.
Rick Lyman writes in the New York Times 6/25/97:
Jerry Bruckheimer: "The first thing we did when we went into business together was to hire a publicist. We didn't want somebody else to get credit for what we did. It created a lot of animosity in the press. And you know, Hollywood can be a very backbiting place.
"I was the opposite of my partner. I'm not flamboyant or outgoing like that. But you're painted with the same brush."
Most screenwriters and some directors are lagging behind the technology, he said. And a recurring disappointment, he added, is that movie theaters are not as technologically equipped as they need to be, and no one seems interested in bringing them up to speed.
"In one sequence of 'Con Air,' there are 482 separate tracks of sound," Mr. Bruckheimer said. "The separation and definition, it's incredible, when you listen to it in the post-production studio. You're actually inside the movie rather than watching it. But you lose 60 to 70 percent when you play it in a movie theater."
Kenneth Turan writes in the 6/10/01 Los Angeles Times:
If memory serves, my files contain a letter from both the present and the former Mrs. Bruckheimer (or maybe it's two letters from one of them) strenuously suggesting I cease and desist from reviewing his films.
...Bruckheimer's works, both during and after his partnership with the late Don Simpson, have as much of an inmistakable personality as any director's. For another, the success they've had is unparalleled. As his reverential official bio puts it, "WIth worldwide revenues of over $11 billion in box office, video and recording receipts, Jerry Bruckheimer continues to find and develop the films that will take him into the new millenium." All of which leads the man to take himself quite seriously: According to Premiere magazine, all radio spots for his films are mandated to mention his name at least twice, and that official bio, taking up three full pages, is the longest one for a producer I have ever seen.
...Bruckheimer, more or less epitomizes Hollywood today.
If Bruckheimer has a genius for anything, it's for the obvious. What almost all his pictures...have in common is a gift for the expected, for the unoriginal, the predictable. The key to his success is the relentless familiarity of his work, its eagerness to go where everyone else has gone.