Brian Grazer

Active - 1978 - Present  |   Born - Jul 12, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

In Hollywood, producer Brian Grazer garners respect for his creativity and for his knack for picking box-office winners. He also possesses a rare gift for spotting raw talent. He was the one who helped Ron Howard move from juvenile actor to major director and he helped struggling actors such as Meg Ryan, Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, and John Candy become major stars. Beginning his film career as a story reader and talent agent, Grazer earned his first production credits for television movies, such as Zuma Beach, while working for Edgar J. Scherick Associates in the late '70s. He had his first feature-film production credit on Howard's black comedy Night Shift (1980). In 1984, Grazer received an Oscar nomination for the story for Howard's blockbuster Splash. Shortly thereafter, he and Howard co-founded Imagine Films Entertainment; the company became one of Hollywood's most successful production companies with such popular films as Parenthood (1989) and Kindergarten Cop (1990).

Throughout the 1990s, Grazer was responsible for some of the more memorable audience pleasers, producing numerous successful films across a wide spectrum of genres. From dramatic thrillers (Backdraft [1991], Ransom [1996]) to madcap comedy (Nutty Professor [1996], Bowfinger [1999], Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas [2000]) to drama (the widely praised real-life story of the Apollo 13 [1995] lunar mission crisis), Grazer consistently produced quality films that continually captivated the imaginations of filmgoing audiences. In 1998, he re-teamed with Apollo 13 partner Tom Hanks to create the highly acclaimed HBO miniseries From Earth to the Moon, for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries. Grazer continued his successful work in television into the new millennium, gaining dozens of Emmy nominations for producing such shows as The PJ's, Sports Night, and Felicity. In 2001, Grazer was honored as the recipient of the Producers Guild of America's David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. As if the honors of that award weren't enough, the following year found the frequent Ron Howard collaborator sharing a Best Picture Oscar with the noted director for their collaboration on A Beautiful Mind. A popular and personal tale of the life of famed mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., A Beautiful Mind proved to be a heavy contender at that year's Academy Awards as it also took home Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly), Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman). Keeping momentum up after the success of A Beautiful Mind proved no problem for the every busy Grazer, and the following year the prolific producer was back in action with work on Blue Crush and Undercover Brother. Though both films proved a moderate draw at the box office, it was 2002's 8 Mile that proved his biggest success of that particular year. In addition to being the first film with a rap song to win a Best Original Song Oscar, the film found star Eminem holding his own opposite such experienced actors as Kim Basinger and Mekhi Phifer and proved a massive hit during its theatrical run and on home video. Next teaming with the Coen brothers for 2003's Intolerable Cruelty, Grazer rounded out the year with the triple threat of The Cat in the Hat, The Missing and The Alamo. The revealing Grazer-produced documentary Inside Deep Throat was also released in 2003, just as he was preparing to being work on the Jim Carrey crime comedy remake Fun with Dick and Jane, released in 2005.

Grazer continued his domination in both film and TV over the next decade of his career, winning Emmys for producing acclaimed series like Arrested Development and 24 and earning another Oscar nomination for producing Frost/Nixon. He also produced hits like The Da Vinci Code and spun-off two of his film ventures, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, into TV series (working with executive producer Jasom Katims on both). In 2015, he helped produce the TV series Empire, which was a massive hit in its first season.

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  • Struggled with dyslexia as a child.
  • After graduating from college, enrolled in USC's law school but quit after a year to pursue a career in Hollywood.
  • Started out in television in the late '70s; worked for television producer Edgar J. Scherick where he co-produced 2 made-for-TV movies: Zuma Beach and Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.
  • First box office hit was 1984's Splash.
  • Co-founded Imagine Entertainment with director Ron Howard in 1986.
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998.
  • Was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007.