January 31, 2023

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James D. Brubaker dead: Rocky movies producer was 85

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James D. Brubaker, who started out as a driver in John Wayne films and racked up credits in high-profile titles including “The Right Stuff,” “Cobra” and “Rocky IV,” died Jan. 3 in Beverly Hills, California after a series of strokes. He was 85.

Brubaker made three movies with Eddie Murphy: “The Naughty Professor,” “The Klumps” and “Life,” in which he played a judge.

Jim Carrey starred in two movies he produced, “Lear, Liar” and “Bruce Almighty.”

Her other production credits include “A Walk in the Clouds,” “Dragonfly” with Kevin Costner and “Zia” with Angelina Jolie.

He worked as a unit production manager on films including “Raging Bull,” “Comes a Horseman,” “New York, New York,” “Rhinestone,” “True Confessions,” “Patty Hearst,” “The Godfather Part II” and “Staying.” did Alive.” His final credit was as an executive producer on “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau.

From 2003 to 2008, Brubaker served as president of physical production at Universal Studios, overseeing more than 50 films in 14 countries.

Brubaker began driving horses on John Wayne movie locations in Mexico as a teamster and was also a driver for “Harold and Maude” and “Diamonds Are Forever.”

After driving for the first “Rocky” movie, he went on to work as production manager on the second, associate producer on the third and executive producer on “Rocky IV.”

Often called “Brew” by his peers, he served in the Army and attended Cal State LA before taking a job as a driver for MGM.

He served on the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Directors Guild of America, and the Producers Guild of America. He also lectures at UCLA and USC film schools and provides training opportunities for underprivileged youth on his film sets.

Brubaker is survived by his wife of 30 years, Marcy Kelly, three children: Marcy Brubaker Brown; Susan Brubaker Gublet; John Alden Brubaker; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his stepson, Michael James Kelly. Donations in his memory may be made to streetlights.org, a non-profit that trains youth from diverse backgrounds for careers in filmmaking.

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