Former Paramount C.E.O. Brad Grey Dies at 59 – Vanity Fair
Brad Grey, the former chairman and C.E.O. of Paramount Pictures, died Sunday night of cancer, according to Deadline. He was 59. The film chief, who spent 12 years at Paramount, was in Los Angeles at the time of death, surrounded by family and friends.
Grey’s death comes as something of a surprise to the industry, with many unaware of his illness. He recently made headlines for stepping down from his role as C.E.O. of Paramount, a troubled studio that lost about $180 million in its most recent quarter at the time of Grey’s departure.
Paramount did, however, achieve a number of vital successes during Grey’s tenure. The studio notched a best-picture Oscar for Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, and released critically acclaimed films like There Will Be Blood and True Grit. This year also marked two best-picture contenders for Paramount: Fences, the play adaptation starring Viola Davis (who picked up a best-supporting-actress statuette) and Denzel Washington, who also directed, and Arrival, the smart sci-fi film starring Amy Adams.
Prior to heading up Paramount, Grey formed the Brillstein-Grey Entertainment management company with Bernie Brillstein, and produced a number of hit TV shows, including many successful HBO projects like the comedy The Larry Sanders Show, the iconic drama The Sopranos, and the late night talk show Real Time with Bill Maher. Grey also co-founded Plan B Entertainment with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. He left to head up Paramount, but remained collaborators with Pitt for a number of years, as the production company had a first deal look with the studio.
Grey announced his departure from Paramount in an e-mail to staff earlier this year.
“From the moment I came to Paramount in 2005, I saw myself as a steward of an iconic institution,” he wrote, per Variety. “I never could have dreamed that privilege would last more than 12 years. In that time, it has been my honor to work with a group of wildly talented storytellers. The core of our successes has always been their unique ability to entertain and inspire people around the world.”
Many in the film industry have begun mourning the loss of Grey. Director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) tweeted that Grey was “always good to me, in the small passing moments we had. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.”
Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan remembers working with Grey on the TV series Just Shoot Me! “He was a thoughtful partner,” Levitan tweeted.
Director Jon M. Chu tweeted that the world “has lost a gentleman.”
Director Ava DuVernay paid tribute to Grey on Twitter, writing that he once invited her to dinner and shared “fab stories” and “shrewd advice” that she still uses.
Grey is survived by his wife, Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, their son Jules, and his former wife, Jill, and their children Sam, Max, and Emily.
Representatives for Paramount have not yet responded to Vanity Fair’s request for comment.
This story is developing.