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A classic Hollywood character with a blend of charm, savvy and ambition, producer and talent manager Brad Grey cultivated an entertainment career that took him from being a gofer for Harvey Weinstein to head of Paramount Pictures and one of the city's most powerful figures. As both a talent manager and producer with Brillstein-Grey and as CEO of Paramount Pictures, Grey showed a remarkable aptitude for discovering and nurturing talent, which resulted in a slew of profitable films for the studio between 2005 and 2014 and such critically praised series as "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007). Born Brad Alan Grey in the Bronx, New York on December 29, 1957, Grey launched his entertainment career while still a business and communications student at the University of Buffalo. He was serving as a gofer for Harvey Weinstein's Harvey & Corky Productions, a rock concert promotion company. By the age of 20, Grey was producing major concerts on his own, most notably a 1978 performance by Frank Sinatra at the War Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York. He soon sought to manage his own talent, and began scouring New York City clubs for up-and-coming talent. Among his earliest clients were two relative unknowns, Bob Saget and Garry Shandling, whose careers would blossom under his aegis. Grey's own status within the entertainment industry skyrocketed in 1984 when he joined forces with talent manager Bernie Brillstein; the duo launched Brillstein Entertainment Partners, a unique talent and literary agency that merged the previously opposite worlds of management and entertainment production. Its first success, at least from a critical perspective, was "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (Showtime/Fox, 1986-1990), a meta-comedy with the comic lampooning television conventions as part of his own sitcom. Brillstein left the company in 1996, selling his portion to Grey, who fashioned Brillstein-Grey and its television unit, Brad Grey Television, into an industry powerhouse. Among its most popular productions were the features "Happy Gilmore" (1996) and "The Wedding Singer" (1998), both starring Brillstein-Grey client Adam Sandler; "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO, 1992-98), with Garry Shandling; and such hit series as "NewsRadio" (NBC, 1995-99) and "Just Shoot Me" (NBC, 1997-2003). Arguably its most significant production was "The Sopranos," the landmark crime drama from creator David Chase, which earned Grey two Emmys and two Peabody Awards between 2000 and 2007. This string of successes was not without its downsides - Shandling sued Grey for breach of duties in 1998, claiming that the producer had robbed "The Larry Sanders Show" of writers when Grey had commissioned deals on other projects for them - but they did little to halt his ascent, which reached its apex in 2005 when Grey was appointed chief executive of Paramount Pictures in the wake of Sherry Lansing's retirement. During his tenure, the studio produced an array of hit movies, including the "Transformers," "Iron Man," "Star Trek," "Mission: Impossible" and "Paranormal Activity" franchises. Grey also forged significant partnerships with figures like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, for whom he produced the Oscar winning "The Departed" (2007) through Plan B, a company he had formed with actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. By 2011, Paramount was the leading studio by domestic share market, but its rapid ascent was followed by an equally swift downfall. Grey brokered a deal to purchase DreamWorks in 2005 that collapsed within three years' time, resulting in the loss of the lucrative DreamWorks Animation division; he also failed to bring Marvel into Paramount's stable, despite its success with "Iron Man," and the company suffered financial losses from a string of expensive failures like "Noah" (2014) and "Zoolander 2" (2016). Grey, whose image had barely recovered from his involvement in the 2008 wiretapping case against private investigator Anthony Pellicano (Grey had hired him during his battles with Shandling), when he was drawn into conflict between former Viacom chairman Phillipe Dauman and Shari Redstone, daughter of Viacom founder Sumner Redstone. She prevailed in the fight, and Grey was forced to resign from his position in February 2017. Less than three months later, Grey died from cancer on May 14, 2017 in his home in Holmby Hills, California at the age of 59.
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