Brad Grey Biography


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Birth Name: Brad Grey
Born: 1958
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA


Born in the Bronx, New York, Grey was a determined entrepreneur from the word go: he was the youngest child of a garment district salesman and in high school sold belt buckles made at his grandfather's factory. He attended the University of New York at Buffalo where majored in business and communications. While in college, he began working for Weinstein, who was then a hustling concert promoter. Meanwhile, Grey traveled to Manhattan on weekends to scout comics at the Improv. A college tour booked by Grey brought comedian Bob Sagat to upstate New York, which resulted in the comic becoming the budding manager's first client.

In the early 1980's, Grey packed his bags and moved to Hollywood. Caught by Marc Gurvitz-a young manager who later became one of Grey's prime movers-and-shakers-working out of his apartment, Grey was persuaded to move into a shared office space. His career soon took off in 1984 when he met talent agent Bernie Brillstein at a television syndication convention in San Francisco. In a seemingly improbable incident, the two bumped into each other at a resort in Hawaii-an event Brillstein speculated was deliberate; something Grey, of course, routinely denied. A year later, Grey suggested to Brillstein-27 years his senior and already a highly respected and successful manager-that the two merge their two companies. Impressed with the young man's timing and understanding of power and business, he agreed and Brillstein-Grey Entertainment was formed.

Grey began producing film and television projects, starting with "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (Showtime, 1986-1990), a weekly comedy series in which Shandling appeared as himself and interacted with both at-home and in-studio audiences. Grey ventured further into television-particularly cable-as a producer, developing several high profile, but short-lived series: "The Boys" (Showtime, 1988-1989; CBS, 1992-1993), starring Ned Betty and Norm Crosby; "Normal Life" (CBS, 1989-1990), with Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa as brother and sister with hippie parents and a unique look at domestic life; and "Good Sports" (CBS, 1990-1991), starring Ryan O'Neal as a former football player and Farrah Fawcett as an ex-Miss America working side-by-side at the anchor desk on an all-sports network.

After he was made a full partner at the talent agency in 1991, Grey produced the hit HBO series, "The Larry Sanders Show" (1992-1998), a fictional account about the backstage goings-on of a late night talk show and its paranoid, insecure host (Shandling) for which Grey shared several CableACE Awards for Comedy Series. Grey also produced "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" (Comedy Central, 1993-1996; ABC, 1997-2002), a comedy talk show that tackled sensitive political and social issues with a rotating panel of guests. The show was eventually canceled after Maher lambasted American foreign policy in his first episode following September 11th. Meanwhile, Grey tried his hand at producing features, though not as successfully as compared to television. After the weak-kneed comedy "Opportunity Knocks" (1990) starring Dana Carvey, he produced "Happy Gilmore" (1996), the popular Adam Sandler comedy about an aggressive and foul-mouthed hockey player-turned-professional golfer eager to make enough money to pay his grandmother's IRS debt.

In 1994, Grey established the firm as a major supplier of television shows, thus expanding business. He then sold off parts of his production arm to ABC and MCA for lucrative profits-some $180 million in all. After the sell-off, both purchasers gave up their television interests, allowing Grey to swoop back in and reclaim the prize in a lucrative deal with Sony. With risk comes reward, followed by swift retribution. Shandling-a client for 18 years-filed a $100 million lawsuit for breech of contract against Grey for allegedly putting company interests ahead of client interests. Grey filed a $10 million countersuit and both parties settled out of court on undisclosed terms.

Grey continued to produce successful television with several high profile and successful shows developed in the 1990's: "Newsradio" (NBC, 1994-1999), "Mr. Show" (HBO, 1995-1999), "The Steve Harvey Show" (WB, 1996-2002) and "Just Shoot Me" (NBC, 1996-2003) all fell under the Brillstein-Grey banner. His most critically acclaimed project was the HBO drama, "The Sopranos" (1999- ), starring James Gandolfini as a middle aged mobster going through a mid-life crisis. Grey earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Drama in 1999 for his producing efforts. His feature projects, however, failed to match the success of his television ventures: "Bulletproof" (1996), "The Replacement Killers" (1998), "Screwed" (2000) and "What Planet Are You From?" (2000) were typical film projects. Only "The Wedding Singer" (1998) and "Scary Movie" (2000) proved to be financial boons.

In 1996, Brillstein sold his shares of the company to Grey, giving the still-youthful manager full reign over operations. Grey later formed Plan B with stars Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston in 2002 with a first-look deal at Warner Bros.. The company's first feature, the epic "Troy" (2004), starring Pitt as the ancient Greek hero Achilles, opened to tepid reviews and middling domestic box office. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," their second effort, was set for release in Summer 2005. Meanwhile, Grey was tapped by Paramount Pictures to run the foundering studio after the sudden retirement of 12-year studio head, Sherry Lansing. Grey was forced to divest himself, however, from both Brillstein-Grey and Plan B, leaving future profits from existing film and television deals in doubt.