Brad Grey, the former chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, died Sunday from cancer at his Holmby Hills home with his family by his side. He was 59.
Grey stepped down at Paramount in February after leading the studio for 12 years. He arrived from Brillstein-Grey Management, the powerhouse talent management agency that he founded with the late Bernie Brillstein in 1984.
While Grey left a mixed legacy behind at Paramount — during his tenure, the studio relied on such franchises as the Transformer movies, Star Trek films and Mission: Impossible series and also saw the Al Gore climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth win an Oscar — as a manager, he left an even more indelible mark on the culture, playing a role in bringing such iconic TV series as The Larry Sanders Show, The Sopranos and Real Time With Bill Maher to cable television.
As executive producer of The Sopranos, he shared in two best drama series Emmys, and he also won four Peabody Awards.
Before taking on the Paramount job, Grey formed the Plan B production company with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, which began with a first-look deal at Warner Bros., where it produced Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Martin Scorsese’s best picture Oscar-winner The Departed.
When Pitt and Aniston’s marriage ended she left the partnership, and in 2005 Grey and Pitt moved the company to Paramount, which served as the company’s home base until last month, when the studio signed a new deal with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna.
Grey also brought Scorsese into his Paramount circle with an overall deal that resulted in such films as Shutter Island (2010), Hugo (2011), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and last year’s Silence.
Grey, however, also saw lots of valuable intellectual property leave Paramount. The studio bought Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks SKG in 2005 in a deal worth $1.6 billion, but tensions between Spielberg’s team and the Melrose Avenue studio resulted in the filmmaker cutting ties with Paramount and striking a distribution deal with Disney just three years later — although Paramount retained stakes in a number of properties, including the lucrative Transformers franchise.
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