Brad Grey, former Paramount CEO, dead at 59

"Brad Grey loved show business and devoted his entire professional career to bringing compelling stories, poignant images and memorable entertainers to audiences who loved them", Grey's family said in a statement published in the Los Angeles Times.

Throughout Grey's tenure at Paramount, he helped the studio introduce wildly successful franchises such as "Transformers", "Paranormal Activity" and the "Mission: Impossible" revivals, as well as a bevy of Oscar-recognized films, like "There Will Be Blood", "No Country for Old Men", "True Grit" and Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth".

Grey was forced out at Paramount in February following a string of box-office disappointments and $450 million in annual losses at the studio.

"All of us at Paramount are deeply saddened by the news of Brad Grey's passing", Gianopulos said.

Grey co-founded Plan B Entertainment with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and served as executive producer of several landmark TV shows and films, such as "The Sopranos", "The Larry Sanders Show", "The Departed", "Happy Gilmore" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". "Kind & classy and a helluva boss".

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"From the moment I came to Paramount in 2005, I saw myself as a steward of an iconic institution", he wrote, per Variety. "I was proud to call Brad a friend, and one I greatly admired".

Sumner and Shari Redstone, in a joint statement noted how Grey's "tremendous kindness and talent inspired so many of us in the entertainment industry". Grey led the acquisition of DreamWorks SKG, the studio created by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Born in NY in 1957, Grey started out in the entertainment business as an assistant to Harvey Weinstein, who was then a concert promoter. And as he tracked new comics, he discovered his first client, the comedian Bob Saget.

He leaves behind his wife, Cassandra and their son Jules, as well as three children from his previous marriage.

  • Michelle Webb